Cancelling operations to ease pressure “not sustainable and cannot become the norm”

Thu, 21 December 2017

NHS England has issued guidance encouraging hospitals to cancel  "non-urgent inpatient elective care” between now and mid-January.

The National Emergency Pressures Panel reviewed current and expected demand over the holiday period and issued the guidance to ensure beds and staff are available for the sickest patients.

Commenting, Andrew Mccracken from National Voices, the coalition of health and care charities, said:

When faced with an impending crisis, the NHS has to focus on those with the most immediate and severe need. That does not take away from the fact that this is a sorry state of affairs.

Tens of thousands of people will be affected by delays to their treatment. Operations can be delayed, but the discomfort and pain caused by people’s health conditions cannot be put on hold. Today’s announcement may buy a small amount of time, but it will also build up a considerable backlog of people needing operations.

This is not the first time hospitals have been asked to delay operations, but it needs to be the last. It is not sustainable and cannot become the norm. We still need a proper long term funding settlement that deals with health and social care together. Until then, we can expect to see services and treatments increasingly rationed.

For further info, contact, Andrew Mccracken on 020 3176 0737 or