***REISSUE***: New data obtained by Labour through FOIs has revealed a huge increase in the number of cancelled operations because of staffing issues and equipment failures.
Last year, 74,710 operations were cancelled. These operations were either classed as urgent or were elective operations cancelled at the last minute – either on the day the patient was due to arrive in hospital or after they had already arrived.
The number of operations cancelled because of staffing issues and equipment failures have each increased by a third in two years. Last year, 10,909 were cancelled because of staffing issues and 4858 were cancelled because of equipment failures.
There are currently over 100,000 staff vacancies in the NHS, with shortages of 10,000 doctors and 43,000 nurses. Cuts to NHS Capital Budgets have left the health service with a £6.5 billion repair bill.
Labour sent FOI requests to all acute hospital trusts in England to ask them to provide the total number of operations cancelled for non-clinical reasons, broken down by the cause of the cancellation. 82 per cent of hospital trusts responded.
Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said:
“That so many more people in pain and distress are forced to endure cancelled operations, including increasingly on the day they were supposed to have treatment, is a shameful indictment of a decade of Tory cutbacks running our NHS into the ground.
“The simple truth is under the Tories, patients wait longer and longer for vital care. This general election is about the future of the NHS and ensuring quality care for all.
“Just like in Education, problems in our precious National Health Service are much deeper than just funding but a desperate shortage of nurses has been exacerbated by the Conservatives scrapping the Student Nurse Bursary scheme. Labour pledge to bring the bursary back so our student nurses are not paying to care for patients”.
“Labour will fully fund our NHS, recruit the doctors and nurses we need and safeguard our NHS from a Trump deal sell off that could cost the NHS £500 million a week.”