Over 150 patients had their operations cancelled at the last minute by Blackpool Vic in one three month period

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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More than 150 patients had elective operations cancelled by the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in one three-month period, new figures show.

Surgeons warn that delays to surgery can cause harm to patients and are calling for extra hospital beds to be provided across England.

The trust cancelled 183 non-urgent operations, such as hip or knee surgeries, in the three months to December, the latest period covered by NHS England data.

The data covers cancellations that were for non-clinical reasons, such as bed or staff shortages.

Cancellations were down overall across England compared to last year, but the Royal College of Surgeons said this would be little comfort to patients whose procedures were called off.

A spokeswoman for the RCS said: “Recent NHS data shows that January saw the worst A&E performance on record.

“It is inevitable that this pressure on A&E will have a knock-on effect for bed capacity - and therefore on planned surgery - during the coming months.

“The RCS strongly believes that the NHS needs to commit to increasing hospital bed capacity.

“Without extra beds, we fear hospitals will struggle to properly tackle long waits for surgery.”

A last-minute cancellation is defined as being either on the day that a patient was due to arrive, after the patient has arrived, or on the day of the operation itself.

The RCS has warned that the drop in last-minute cancellations could be masking the fact that more operations are simply being cancelled in advance.

According to the NHS Constitution, trusts must offer a new date within a maximum period of 28 days after a non-urgent operation has been cancelled.

At the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, all operations were rescheduled within that time period.

There were 20,145 last minute cancellations across England in the three months to December, a slight fall on the same period last year.