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Lack of ward beds most common reason for cancelled operations in Wales

10 Mar 2016

A report, Operating Theatres: A Summary of Local Audit Findings, published by the Auditor General for Wales says that operating theatres in Wales are not being used efficiently.

Responding to the report, Mr Timothy Havard, Royal College of Surgeons Director for Professional Affairs (Wales) and consultant general surgeon, said:

“This report warns the most common reason operations are cancelled in Wales is that there are no ward beds available. This backs-up what surgeons have been telling us about a lack of beds available in Welsh hospitals over the busy winter period. Added to that is the particularly worrying finding that in some health boards there are daily difficulties in ensuring sufficient cover for theatres because staff are being moved to work in different areas. All of this contributes to unacceptably high waiting times and causes needless distress to patients.

“Policies aimed at increasing bed numbers and tackling waiting lists should be a priority for all political party manifestos ahead of the 2016 Welsh Assembly elections.

“It is however encouraging to read that the Welsh health boards are mostly hitting their target rates for day surgery. This means patients are treated more quickly and can avoid unnecessary stays in hospital.

“Positively, the report notes that the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist is now being widely used within NHS Wales. This can only strengthen patient safety and lessen the chance of mistakes being made.”

Note to editors

In December 2015, the Royal College of Surgeons published a report, The State of Surgery in Wales, which warns that unacceptably high waiting times in Wales need to be urgently tackled.

press notice issued in December 2015 highlights the main findings.

For more information, please contact the RCS Press Office:

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