Senior doctors are concerned about the number of cancelled cancer operations due to a shortage of beds this winter. The vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons, Ian Eardley, told the BBC that the NHS is “pulling out all of the stops” to treat patients “as quickly as possible”.
According to cancer guidelines, patients should receive primary treatment within 62 days of diagnosis. However, in November 2016, 83.5% of patients were treated with 62 days, which is below the 85% target, as shown by the most recent NHS figures for waiting times. Mr Eardley indicated that “it’s been more difficult to achieve,” in the past year.
Mr Eardley’s comments echo those of the President of the Royal College of Surgeons, Clare Marx, who told The Observer, that since January “a large number of hospitals across the UK are now cancelling cancer surgery. It is heartbreaking for a surgeon to have to explain to a patient who has cancer that their operation has had to be cancelled as there are no beds available.”