Thousands of operations cancelled across the North-East

Thousands of operations across the North-East have been cancelled over the past three years

Olivia Jackson
18th November 2019
Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Thousands of operations across the North-East have been cancelled over the past three years

The crisis has been labelled “a shameful indictment of a decade of Tory cutbacks running our NHS into the ground” by the Labour Party.

However, health professionals have urged parties not to make this a general election issue. The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, states that “it becomes counter-productive when the NHS is used as a political weapon.”

Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals cancelled 2,927 operations for non-clinical reasons over the last three years

A Freedom of Information request, on behalf of the Labour Party, revealed that Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals cancelled 2,927 operations for non-clinical reasons over the last three years. In addition, 2,677 were cancelled by Northumbria Healthcare, 1,515 within County Durham and Darlington, and 1,164 across South Tyneside. This data was compromised of Freedom of Information requests sent to all acute hospital trusts in England, with 82% of said trusts responding.

In response to these figures, a spokesperson for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust stated that cancelling appointments was “never a decision taken lightly”. Last-minute cancellations were attributed to “things like staff sickness or personal emergencies- as evidenced by our cancelling less than 3% of our operations for any reason, or less than 1% due to staffing reasons.”

Despite attempts to prevent the politicisation of this issue, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary has claimed that Labour will, if victorious in the upcoming election, “fully fund our NHS”. To do so, they promise to “recruit the doctors and nurses we need and safeguard our NHS from a Trump deal sell off that could cost the NHS £500 million a week”.

In line with this desire to improve NHS practices, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said  “We want patients across the country to get world class care in world class facilities and are investing £33.9 billion into our NHS to ensure that our health service is always delivering for those who need it.”

Health and Social Care spending in the UK is up from £116.80bn per year in 2009/10, to £132.90bn in 2019/20

Reflecting upon the last decade of Conservative govern, Health and Social Care spending in the UK is up from £116.80bn per year in 2009/10, to £132.90bn in 2019/20. The Kings Fund says spending is increasing, but at a slower rate than in previous years.

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