Bid to cut cancelled operations

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Hospital managers in Sheffield have set a priority of cutting the number of operations cancelled on the day after 6.5% were called off last year.

They are aiming to get the figure down to 4% by next April and then to bring it down further.

Numbers of cancelled operations at hospitals run by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, which include the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General, have gone up from 879 in 2009/09 to 1,161 in 2012/13, according to figures to be presented to the council next Wednesday.

One of the biggest non-clinical reasons has been bed availability, and “significant progress” has been made on addressing this, says trust medical director David Throssell.

Now a high numbers of emergency admissions and winter viruses are having an impact. A“key objective” is to reduce the number of patients who are cancelled on the day.

“We have commenced a review of the inpatient waiting list management process within orthopaedics with the aim of standardising this process. This will then be rolled out across our surgical specialities.”

Other priorities include reducing prevalence of pressure ulcers and better discharge information for patients.

“The quality of discharge information available for patients is variable, and has been a cause for complaint from some patients,” says Mr Throssell.

“While improvement work has taken place, this audit work aims to ensure a trust-wide consistent standard.”

In general, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust says it has met it priorities over the past year, which included improving communication with patients, ensuring mortality rates do not go up at weekends and helping patients with dementia.

It is “behind schedule” on efforts to reduce lengths of stay in hospital compared with UK benchmarks.

Latest inspections by the independent Care Quality Commission indicated the Royal Hallamshire and the Northern General were meeting standards.