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Patient’s anger over short notice for cancelled operation at the King Edward

The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (File photograph).

A shortage of hospital beds has continued to cause delays to non-essential operations – and some patients said they were upset about the lack of notice for postponements.

A patient told The Royal Gazette that she had been scheduled for surgery on August 20, but was told on the day that the operation would be postponed because of a lack of beds.

The woman added she was self-employed and had lost out on potential work – which could have been avoided if she had been given more notice of cancellation.

She said: “All week I have been in the hospital to take this test and that test.

“For them to tell me on the morning that I can’t get the surgery, I think is very unfair.

“Surely they would have known they didn’t have beds sooner.”

She added that she had been told that other people had also had last-minute cancellations.

A spokeswoman for BHB apologised to people who suffered surgery cancellations.

She admitted that space continued to be a problem at the hospital.

The spokeswoman said: “The surgeries impacted by bed capacity are those that require inpatient beds after the procedure, called same day admission surgeries.

“Of the approximately 750 surgeries completed each month, usually about 50 are same day admissions.

“The rest are existing inpatients who already have a bed allocated, or outpatients who do not need admission afterwards.”

The spokeswoman said 69 same day admission surgeries were completed in June and July, but nine had to be postponed because of a bed shortage.

She added: “We do everything we can to undertake the surgeries, but bed capacity can fluctuate right up to surgery time so we can often only ascertain the bed availability on the day of surgery.

“For example, bed capacity can be unexpectedly impacted by a busy night in Emergency with a high number of admissions that impacts the next morning’s availability, or because people ready for discharge do not leave when expected.

“We understand the frustration for individuals and their families, and apologise when we cannot undertake the procedure when originally planned.”

Wesley Miller, the chief of staff at the BHB, said in June that some elective surgery had to be postponed between March and May after Covid-19 cases soared.

Dr Miller added that an ageing population had also put extra strain on hospital services.

He said: “The pandemic has been an added pressure on top of the usual issues of having an ageing population that needs hospital care and many of whom have more than one illness.

“Covid-19 pressures wax and wane, but the population demographics and the impact on the healthcare system remain the same.”

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Published August 30, 2021 at 2:12 pm (Updated August 30, 2021 at 2:12 pm)

Patient’s anger over short notice for cancelled operation at the King Edward

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