Operation delays as QA struggles to cope in A&E

Operations were cancelled at Queen Alexandra Hospital after a surge in A&E patients
Operations were cancelled at Queen Alexandra Hospital after a surge in A&E patients

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OPERATIONS were cancelled at Queen Alexandra Hospital after it was unable to cope with a surge in A&E patients.

The Cosham hospital said 10 operations were called off because of ‘unprecedented’ demand.

A spokesman for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), which runs QA, said: ‘There was an unexpected surge in demand on emergency departments across the south coast on Monday, with no obvious underlying cause.

‘The high number of patients caused capacity pressures across the hospital and a decision was taken to cancel three routine, non-urgent operations to help ensure there were sufficient inpatient beds for those patients admitted through the emergency department.

‘A further seven routine procedures were cancelled yesterday.’

The trust said the operations cancelled were ‘not life-threatening’ and were planned, elective non-urgent operations.

It added that a clinical decision was taken to postpone these operations, as beds were needed for more urgent patients.

As reported, MPs met PHT, health commissioners who fund services, NHS community providers Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust; and Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council, which run adult social services, to try to solve the A&E crisis.

PHT is failing to meet the government target to see, treat, or discharge 95 per cent of patients within four hours.

Mark Hoban, MP for Fareham, said: ‘What’s most concerning is even with its normal level of attendance, QA isn’t meeting targets.

‘That’s why we are looking to open more beds.

‘I understand that of the surge in patients on Monday, a lot of them needed surgery, which was unusual.’

The head of a patient watchdog group has said various trusts need to get together to fix the problem.

Steve Taylor, manager for Hampshire Healthwatch, said: ‘It’s concerning that demand for services means patients are missing out.

‘There needs to be more funding and recognition that the issue is not just one for PHT, but for the whole system to fix.

‘Everyone needs to come together to try and work out what more can be done.’

Commissioners have put in a bid for £4m of government funding to tackle the problem.

PHT was not able to confirm whether further operations will be cancelled this week.