250,000 operations cancelled17th October 2006
Almost a thousand operations are being cancelled every working day in the NHS, according to new figures.
A quarter of a million operations were cancelled in England last year; the majority of the cancellations have been blamed on administrative errors such as missing notes, miscommunication and patients not receiving notification of their operation, as well as outbreaks of the hospital superbug MRSA.
But there is also a growing number of cancellations due to lack of the correct or properly cleaned equipment. However, the figures also reveal the number of operations cancelled due to lack of beds had almost halved in the past four years, while those halted due to staff shortages had also dropped.
Central figures are not kept on the total number of operations cancelled by hospitals, but Tory MP Grant Shapps obtained the figures through responses to Freedom of Information requests to every NHS trust. He said the figures showed that the overall number of cancellations have remained the same despite massive NHS investment.
The Department of Health responded that last minute cancellations had fallen in recent years, while critics said it was further evidence that the government had failed to address problems in the NHS.
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