Surgeons at hospitals in England are being left “kicking their heels” because operations are being cancelled due to bed shortages.
Royal College of Surgeons president Clare Marx said the “shocking waste” was a symptom of NHS underfunding. In a joint letter with NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson, she said patients and staff deserved better.
The letter went on: “Because of bed shortages, staff including surgeons are now sometimes left kicking their heels, waiting for beds to become available so they can operate. Too often managers, nurses and doctors waste time trying to find somewhere to look after patients [after surgery]. When the NHS is being told to make the most of its resources, this is a shocking waste.”
To minimise the risk of infections and delays in getting treatment, hospitals are meant to have no more than 85% of beds occupied. NHS England said only 1% of operations were cancelled at the last minute.
Meanwhile, 19 hospitals face closure, including five acute hospitals, according to an analysis of Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).
Other findings include the planned closure of 2,000 beds in acute and community hospitals and the loss of nearly 3,000 NHS jobs.