Headlines: March 6th, 2001

More detail has been announced on plans to try to crack down on the number of cancelled operations in the NHS.Under the scheme, hospitals which cancel a patient’s operation on the due date have 28 days to re-arrange the treatment.

Otherwise, the hospital will have to pay for the patient’s treatment at the time and hospital of the patient’s choice – including private hospitals.

The new measure is a further attempt to bear down on waiting lists – even though the Government is signalling it is pleased with a smaller-than-expected rise in the difficult winter quarter.

The cancelled operations standard, included as part of the NHS Plan, will be piloted in nine NHS hospitals. Three have been selected because they have particular problems with cancelled operations – The Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Trust, North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, and University Coventry and Warwick Hospital NHS Trust

A further six have been chosen as they are thought to have best practice on cancelled operations from which other parts of the NHS can learn.

These are The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust, The Princess Alexandria NHS Trust, Southern Derbuyshire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, North Manchester Healthcare NHS Trust and West Cumbria Healthcare NHS Trust.

The hospitals will receive support from the Government’s NHS Modernisation Agency in implementing the standard, so that by the end of 2001 all their patients will benefit from it. The lessons learned will be shared with the rest of the NHS so that before the end of 2002, the whole of the NHS will be covered by the same 28-day deadline.