Demand for beds forces Nottingham hospitals to cancel operations
MORE than 300 operations at Nottingham's hospitals were cancelled in the first two months of this year because of high levels of admissions.
The figures for Nottingham City Hospital and the Queen's Medical Centre show there were 185 cancellations in January alone – the highest level for at least two years.
A further 131 operations were cancelled in February.
A spokesman for Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust said the number of patients being admitted to the hospital had increased from around 450 people a day to around 500 during January and February.
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They added that they did not know the reason behind the increase in demand for beds, although January's figures may have reflected a rise in cases of norovirus, the sickness bug.
Papers which went before the trust board on March 1 showed most operations had to be cancelled because of a lack of ward beds, but other reasons included "list overruns for nonclinical reasons, last-minute staff sickness, equipment failure or administrative errors".
Dr Nigel Sturrock, clinical director at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the two hospitals, said: "Emergency attendances and admissions have been 10 per cent higher than normal over the last few weeks.
"At times of high demand we have to prioritise our operating theatres for the most urgent, emergency cases. Unfortunately, this means we have to reschedule some non-urgent planned operations."
A trust spokesperson added: "Part of the cancellations could have been attributed to norovirus in January but we do not know the reason for the influx of admissions after that."
He also warned that only those who desperately needed help should go to the QMC's emergency department.
He said: "We are asking the people of Nottingham to ease pressures on their local hospitals by making the right choice when they need medical help or advice. Some patients are not emergencies and could seek other help."
The latest figures come after the Post revealed in January that 136 patients had operations cancelled at the last minute in November.
People who seek urgent help but do not have an emergency should call 111. NHS Direct provides confidential expert advice on 0845 46 47 and people can also visit Nottingham's NHS walk-in centre on London Road, or the 8am-8pm NHS Nottingham City Help Centre in Upper Parliament Street.
Those who have an illness or injury which will not go away are advised to visit their GP.
To find out more about services, go to www.choosebetter.org.uk.