Misery' of cancelled ops

PUBLISHED: 10:32 23 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 May 2010

FIGURES showing the number of operations cancelled due to problems with surgical equipment have been branded a catalogue of misery . Following our story last week about Letchworth GC resident Sue Hogg, whose operation was cancelled due to surgical instru

FIGURES showing the number of operations cancelled due to problems with surgical equipment have been branded a "catalogue of misery".

Following our story last week about Letchworth GC resident Sue Hogg, whose operation was cancelled due to surgical instruments being declared unfit for use, The Comet asked East and North Herts NHS Trust how many operations are cancelled each month because of such problems.

The statistics show there is no consistent reduction in the number of operations cancelled due to equipment failure or equipment being unavailable, despite the merger of the trust's two sterile service units into one unit at Lister in February.

Since that date, problems with equipment account for at least 20 per cent of the cancellations for non-surgical reasons each month. In September this year, nearly 58 per cent of non-surgical cancellations were due to equipment problems.

Mrs Hogg said: "The figures don't look good. If they were properly running that unit the number of discarded sets should be nil."

Sue Hogg's MP, Oliver Heald, said: "These figures dramatically show the catalogue of misery being inflicted on local residents as their operations are cancelled, often because of equipment not being clean or ready to use."

Trust chief executive Nick Carver said that it carries out over 45,000 operations a year, and that only one per cent of patients treated have their surgery cancelled.

Mr Carver said the Trust was determined to tackle problems in the sterile services department.

He added: "There is more work to be done and we are very sorry where operations have been cancelled, but we know that the service is improving considerably.

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