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Joint RCS and BAPS statement on cancelled children's surgery

27 Oct 2018

Responding to data issued by the Labour Party showing an increase in the number of children’s operations in England being cancelled, Mr Richard Stewart, President of the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons (BAPS), and Mr Eric Nicholls, Chair of the Children’s Surgical Forum at the Royal College of Surgeons, and said:
“The fact that more children’s operations are being cancelled nationally is of deep concern to surgeons.
“Despite doing all that we can to accommodate children in the major children’s centres around the UK, for both emergency and planned hospital admissions, as the years progress we are encountering an increasing number of cancellations. The RCS and BAPS first began to recognise this increasing pressure on children’s surgery in 2006, publishing a joint statement with other surgical colleges at the time1.
“The surgical colleges wish to see the establishment of regional networks providing surgical care locally when possible2. This will help reduce the pressure on specialist centres that can lead to planned complex surgery being cancelled
“Pressures are particularly bad over the busy winter months as beds are more occupied with respiratory illnesses in children. We also have less beds available due to reduced resources –beds and staff – as a result of the financial pressures the NHS has faced over recent years.
“Having an operation cancelled is stressful for children and their families. Alongside practical considerations such as wasted time off school and work, children and their families have to deal with the mental anguish of preparing for surgery all over again. The majority of cancelled children’s operations are rescheduled soon after they were due to take place.”


Notes to editors

1.    Joint Statement on General Paediatric Surgery provision in District General Hospitals in Great Britain and Ireland.
2. Joint statement of intent, Working together to improve the local delivery of the General Surgery of Childhood, from the Royal College of Surgeons on England, The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, and the Federation of Surgical Specialty Associations.    

3.    The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.
4.    For more information, please contact the RCS Press Office:  telephone: 020 7869 6047/6052/6229; email:; out of hours media enquiries: 07966 486832
5.    The British Association of Paediatric Surgeons (BAPS) was established in 1953. We endeavour to raise standards in paediatric surgery through education and research. We are a registered charity, so are governed by the rules and regulations of the Charity Commission.


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