Patients 'left in pain' by surgery delays

From BBC - March 8, 2018

Thousands of patients in England have been left in "pain and discomfort" because of the decision to postpone operations, surgeons say.

The Royal College of Surgeons said those waiting for hip and knee surgery had been the worst affected.

Operations were put off this winter to free up beds for A&Es - and new figures have shown 40,000 fewer were done this winter than in the previous one.

Despite this A&E waits have hit their worst level for over a decade.

During the winter, just over 85% of A&E patients have been treated or admitted within four hours, well below the 95% target. This is the worst performance since the target was introduced in 2004.

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Royal College of Surgeons president Prof Derek Alderson acknowledged delaying operations was a "necessary evil" given the pressure A&Es were under.

But he said: "It also inevitably prevented many patients who are in discomfort or pain from having an operation when they needed it, potentially causing their condition to deteriorate."

As well as hip and knee surgery, the college said patients waiting for brain surgery for benign tumours that can cause sight problems if left and those needing treatment for conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn's disease would also have been affected.

"We urgently need a clear plan to deal with the growing backlog of cancelled operations," Prof Alderson said.

Waiting for an op 'stops everything'

One of those caught up in the delays is teacher Scott Randolph. He has been waiting for spinal surgery since November.

He said his degenerative condition has left him in "excruciating pain" at times.

Beds have been freed up - NHS bosses


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