High numbers in A&E causes Queen Alexandra Hospital to cancel routine appointments

Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham
Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham
  • In total 93 operations cancelled in six-week period
  • Cancelled operations blamed on high number of people attending A&E
  • People reminded to use other health resources ahead of QA
Have your say

FRUSTRATED patients have spoken of their anger as operations are being cancelled at the last minute.

Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, said between May 1 and June 15, it was forced to cancel 93 operations due to a lack of beds – around 1.1 per cent of total operations in that time.

If my aneurysm burst then I would be dead in three minutes – and they say it’s urgent but still cancel my appointment.

Patient Thomas Reynolds, 68

Thomas Reynolds, 68, of Fareham, said: ‘I had an appointment for an operation on an aneurysm. I had to get up and be at the hospital for 6.30am and saw the consultant and the anaesthetist.

‘Then I had to get changed into robes and went to theatre, but then I was told it was cancelled because there aren’t enough beds.

‘It’s a joke, they build this thundering hospital, but they haven’t got enough beds and I’m annoyed.

‘If my aneurysm bursts then I’m dead in three minutes – and they said it’s urgent but still cancelled my appointment.’

And cancer patient Teresa Taylor, 42, of Gosport, said she was angry when her operation for breast reconstruction, following a double mastectomy, was cancelled last minute.

She said: ‘I got there in the morning and was marked up before I was told it was cancelled as there are not enough beds.

‘What’s worse is I heard other people saying they had their operations cancelled three times in a row – it makes me so angry.’

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, said operations are being cancelled due to the number of people arriving in A&E.

Latest figures show the trust is still failing to meet the government target of seeing, treating or discharging 95 per cent of patients within four hours.

Troubles in A&E were flagged up in the hospital’s Care Quality Commission report, which came out last week.

The department was deemed inadequate when it came to providing a safe service.

The trust said it is working to improve this.

A spokesman said: ‘We’re experiencing unprecedented pressures in our A&E.

‘The trust takes any cancellation of patient operations very seriously and makes every effort, even up to the last minute, to find an appropriate bed. This regrettably sometimes leads to late cancellations.

‘This is something the trust is working extremely hard to minimise as we are aware of the impact it can have on patient experience.

‘When it’s essential to cancel a patient operation, we make every effort to ensure the appointment or operation is rescheduled as soon as possible, at a time convenient for the patient.

‘We’re working with our partner agencies to ensure patients are discharged from an acute bed as soon as their condition allows.’

The hospital trust gets some of its money from the Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group.

CCG lead Dr David Chilvers said: ‘QA is under particular pressure, and so patients are being asked to think through their options before heading to A&E.

‘As a short-term response, we know PHT is postponing some routine, non-urgent operations to ensure staff can focus on caring for those in greatest need.

‘Clearly, while this is a necessary step to ensure patients are cared for safely, it can only be a short-term response.

‘We would hope the trust is able to return to normal as soon as possible, and to rebook those patients who have been affected within weeks, if not days.

‘People are being reminded to use the NHS 111 service, walk-in centres and pharmacies for medical help.’