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Nottingham to open 80 new beds after cancellations surge

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust is to invest more than £4m to open 80 new beds, after it was forced to cancel an “unprecedented” number of operations.

The trust told HSJ it planned to open 68 new beds at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and 12 new respiratory beds at the nearby City Hospital.

In a step the trust believes is a first, it has also begun publishing its total numbers of cancelled operations – both on and prior to the day of surgery.

Between January and August this year NUH cancelled 870 operations on the day of surgery, with many cancelled more than once. However, it also cancelled 2,891 operations before the day of surgery.

Chief executive Peter Homa told HSJ that cancellations had “reached unprecedented levels for us”.

He continued: “For many patients and their families it is just as distressing to cancel an operation prior to the day as it is on the day, so to give a more accurate picture of our service performance we have become the first trust in the country to publish both figures.

This meant the trust could “be held to account in a much more public way”.

He added that the situation at NUH had now improved, with fewer operations cancelled in June and August.

The trust said the cancellations were due to the increased acuity of its patients, with older patients admitted who were staying longer. This had been compounded by surges in accident and emergency attendances, meaning the trust had to prioritise urgent and emergency surgery.

NUH has already opened 30 extra beds and an emergency day unit in response to the problem, and recruited more nurses and doctors to A&E.

Readers' comments (2)

  • I wonder if this is the shape of things to come in the short and medium term. We ignore the demographic issues (ageing population, increase in incidence of mental illness, people living longer due to technological improvements) at our peril. I'm all up for integrated services, doing more closer to home etc and we have to have 'beds' for people that need operations or are very ill. In an era where there is a push for less hospital beds not more what is this telling us? I'm hearing that demand is going up, bed managers have been at there wits end at a time of year when demand 'drops' a little - nobody seems to understand why that is.... yet we know that there is a 7% increase in stress related conditions presenting at A&E..... How will J Hunt handle this one?

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  • Its not a first my Trust made the decision to open 75 additional beds earlier this year. Building work has commenced and they will open in November The reasons are very similar we have had a 13% increase in emergency admissions for the 80+ age group. All this capacity will be used by patients who generate a 30% tariff. The system is in chaos and the funding model is unsustainable. So much for Francis 2 and quality for elderly patients who can deliver quality at 30%? And yes we are missing the RTT target, will probably be fined and may be in regulatory breach with Monitor all because we put patient safety first and gave priority to emergency patients!

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