FOI reveals the Conservatives’ damage to the NHS as 2815 operations have been cancelled for non-clinical reasons in the last three years at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – 17% due to a combination of staff shortages and equipment failures
New data obtained by Labour through FOIs showed that despite the huge efforts of NHS staff, Tory underfunding meant that in Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, there were 790 operations cancelled for non-clinical reasons last year (2018/9), an improvement on the previous two years thanks mainly to the fantastic work of the staff, but still much higher than they would wish. 87.7% patients started treatment within 18 weeks, against a target of 92%.
Last year, 78,981 operations were cancelled across England. These operations were either classed as urgent or were elective operations cancelled at the last minute – either on the day the patient was due to arrive in hospital or after they had already arrived.
The number of operations cancelled because of staffing issues and equipment failures have each increased by a third in two years. Last year, 10,900 were cancelled because of staffing issues and 4800 were cancelled because of equipment failures.
There are currently over 100,000 staff vacancies in the NHS, with shortages of 10,000 doctors and 43,000 nurses. Cuts to NHS Capital Budgets have left the health service with a £6.5 billion repair bill.
Labour sent FOI requests to Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to ask it to provide the total number of operations cancelled for non-clinical reasons, broken down by the cause of the cancellation.
Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said:
“That so many more people in pain and distress are forced to endure cancelled operations, including increasingly on the day they were supposed to have treatment, is a shameful indictment of a decade of Tory cutbacks running our NHS into the ground.
“The simple truth is under the Tories, patients wait longer and longer for vital care. This general election is about the future of the NHS and ensuring quality care for all.
“Labour will fully fund our NHS, 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.”
James Bull, Labour’s Candidate in South East Cambridgeshire, said:
“When I see this figure, it makes me furious. Despite the huge efforts of NHS staff this is a reminder of what Tory and Lib Dem austerity has done to healthcare provision in South East Cambridgeshire.
“Behind every statistic is so much misery. For every person from our community whose operation has been cancelled – that’s yet another individual in agonising pain or terrible stress, wondering when their operation will actually happen. It’s a whole family put under enormous strain, it’s husbands, wives, sons or daughters who’ve had to take even more time off work to care for their loved one – often unpaid.
“We can’t trust Boris Johnson and his current local Tory cheerleader Lucy Frazer with Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – and we can’t trust him with our NHS. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The UK is a rich country, and we can afford to treat our NHS patients with dignity. Labour will recruit the doctors and nurses we need.”