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Increase in the number of cancelled operations due to shortage of beds

April 24, 2012 9:59 AM

A Freedom of Information request has shown that the number of cancelled operations has continued to be on the rise with Local Health Boards struggling to keep up with demand.

Responses from Local Health Boards have shown there is still a significant problem of NHS bed shortages across the whole of Wales. Hywel Dda LHB revealed that 2,486 operations have been cancelled due to the lack of beds, while in Cardiff and Vale LHB 2,618 operations were cancelled.

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, commented:

"Over 7,000 cancelled operations, in just a few years, due to a lack of available beds is truly shocking. We have seen the number of NHS beds cut by more than 2,000 over the last decade. It is clear that we are suffering from a lack of NHS beds across the whole of Wales. While it would be expected for the number of beds to decline, due to advancement in technology and community care, it is nonetheless disturbing to see how rapid this reduction has been. It is evident that this decrease has added pressure onto our already struggling health wards.

"The NHS must continue to do everything it can to ensure that operations are not cancelled, but the problem is that our NHS is not getting the support it needs from this Welsh Labour Government. As well as a huge amount of cancellations, month after month patient waiting times are routinely missed, with thousands of patients across Wales having to wait over 36 weeks for treatment.

"The overall number of cancellations of operations is very high across Wales. For example, 17,879 operations have been cancelled at Hywel Dda since 2008. Cancellations can happen for a number of reasons, including the patient cancelling; nonetheless this number is extraordinarily high and is some the Welsh Government should be looking into with a matter of urgency.

"Cancelling operations is obviously distressing and inconvenient for patients, let alone the fact these cancellations would cost the NHS huge amounts each year. The Welsh Labour Government needs to be doing more to ensure we have an efficient and effective NHS. The Welsh Government is continuing to mismanage our NHS; the people of Wales deserve better."