15,000 operations for children cancelled in staff and beds crisis

Almost 15,000 children’s operations were cancelled last year – more than 30 percent more than the previous 12 months and the highest for five years. About half the 14,628 postponed procedures were due to a lack of staff and beds.

One child at Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals was waiting one year and 62 days, according to the local trust.

Other waits for over a year were at Leicester General and Hull University Teaching Hospitals.

Some 77 NHS hospital trusts in England provided the data, which showed that 59,566 operations have been cancelled since 2018.

That includes 11,870 in 2021.

Almost 4,000 procedures called off in 2022 were down to not enough beds, 2,894 due to a lack of staff. Other reasons were lack of ­theatre time on the day or because lists were overbooked. The data was obtained by a Lib Dem Freedom of Information request.

Party leader Sir Ed Davey said: “Behind these figures are countless children and parents having to wait in pain and distress. Years of neglect by this Government have led to chronic staff shortages and a lack of hospital beds.”

The Department of Health said: “Cutting waiting lists is one of the PM’s five priorities. The NHS has already virtually eliminated waits of more than two years for treatment, while 18-month waits have been cut by over 80 percent.”

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