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NHS cancels 14% of operations at last minute due to lack of resources, research finds

One in seven NHS hospital operations are being cancelled just before they are due to take place, often because of a lack of beds, staff or operating theatres, research reveals.

Of 26,171 procedures due to take place during the last week of March this year, 3,724 (14%) of them were called off at or close to the time they were due to occur, according to the findings, which are based on the experience of patients at 90% of NHS hospitals across the UK.

The results prompted fresh warnings that the delays were leading to patients suffering pain and distress when they had to wait longer than expected for their surgery and that the NHS was seriously short of the resources it needed to function properly.

The study, published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia, also disclosed that patients were often denied surgery at the last moment because others who have come in to the hospital through A&E were judged to be in more urgent medical need.

An acute lack of beds in high-dependency and intensive care units also contributes to cancellations.

Read more in The Guardian.

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