Latest NHS figures reveal the number of cancelled operations at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital

One in seven patients in South Tyneside who had hospital operations cancelled had to wait more than four weeks to be treated, new figures show.

NHS England figures show 123 pre-booked operations at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust were postponed on or after the day the patient was admitted between April and June.

The NHS aims to offer all people who have routine surgery cancelled at the last minute another date within 28 days but, of the patients who had procedures cancelled at the Trust, 17 had to wait more than four weeks – a rate of 14%.

Hospital chiefs say they are working hard to recover from the ‘significant’ impact of the pandemic and cancellations were due to a number of factors including, unforeseen emergencies, pressures as a result of COVID-19 and patient choice.

Dr Sean Fenwick.

Between April and June the Trust – which runs South Tyneside District Hospital – undertook 8,334 operations.

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Dr Sean Fenwick, director of operations at the Trust, said: “As we continue to recover from the pandemic, our focus remains getting as many people in for their planned care as possible. These figures show we are making good progress.

“These pressures are being felt across the NHS as a whole. We are working with Trusts across our region to make sure we use all our available capacity.”

South Tyneside District Hospital.

In England, 23.6% of hospital patients were not treated with 28 days of a cancelled surgery – up from 23.0% the previous quarter, and one of the highest rates since records began in 1994.

The Patients Association called on the Government to provide the NHS with more resources to reduce cancellations.

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: "It can be distressing and frustrating for a patient when a surgical procedure is cancelled.

"Immediate investment in social care is needed to enable hospitals to safely discharge medically fit patients into the community, which would increase the NHS's ability to treat more patients, and a long-term work strategy for both the NHS and social care is urgently needed."

The Department of Health and Social Care said it has commissioned NHS England to develop a long-term workforce strategy and is reforming adult social care, with £5.4bn investment over three years.