MORE than 200 operations were cancelled at the last minute at Barnsley Hospital last year, new figures have revealed.

NHS England figures show a total of 212 operations were cancelled on the day the patient arrived at hospital, after they arrived, or on the day of the operation itself in 2022.

In the last three months of the year, 63 elective operations were cancelled on the scheduled day of procedure, though this is down from 74 in the previous quarter.

Nationally, cancelled operations rose by nine per cent in the three months to December from the previous quarter and ten per cent on the same time period in 2021.

The proportion of cancelled operations has remained consistent at around one per cent of the total number of operations planned since before the pandemic.

Tim Mitchell, vice-president of the RCS of England, said: “No surgeon wants to be in the position of telling a patient their surgery has to be cancelled but the very high demand we have seen in emergency departments since the summer, and problems discharging patients who are ready to leave hospital when there is a lack of social care, mean this is too often what has to happen.

“Gaps in the workforce also play a huge part.

“Often there will be a surgeon available to operate, but no theatre nurses or anaesthetists.”

More patients of cancelled operations across England also had to wait longer to be treated again.

A total of 4,590 patients were forced to wait more than 28 days to be treated following their operation being cancelled in the three months to December - up from 4,150 the previous quarter.

Of these, seven were at Barnsley Hospital - up from six the previous quarter.

The Department for Health and Social care said bringing down waiting lists and providing the highest quality care is a ‘top priority’, and that the rise in cancellations was driven by the increase in booked operations.

A spokesperson added: “The NHS has already made strong progress in tackling the Covid backlogs, virtually eliminating waits of over two years for treatment - the first target in the Elective Recovery Plan - and all efforts are being made to deliver the next ambition to eliminate waits of 18 months or more by April.”

A Barnsley Hospital spokesperson told the Chronicle that due to rising admissions and staff sickness, the cancellations became ‘unavoidable.

“Barnsley Hospital continues to focus on reducing waiting times for treatment,” they added.

“Nationally, the NHS ambition is that no patients should be waiting over 78 weeks for treatment by the end of March 2023, something the Trust has already achieved.

“Like other NHS organisations across the country, Barnsley Hospital has faced increased staff sickness alongside rising admissions of patients to hospital and a continued prevalence of Covid-19, which has unfortunately led to some unavoidable cancellations on the day.

“Due to unplanned and unforeseen operational demand, cancellations are regrettably unavoidable at times.

“Despite these challenges, there is a focus on minimising cancellations as part of the Trust’s Quality Improvement Programme.

“Patients can help by ensuring they are up to date with vaccinations, attend appointments and ensuring they are fit for surgery - further information can be found on the Trust’s website by searching ‘Get Fitter for Surgery’.”