The Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s most recent Winter Flow Project report has shown that 13,061 NHS elective operations have been cancelled throughout October and November.
The NHS stopped recording the number of cancelled operations during the pandemic due to the unprecedented demand put onto the healthcare system during the height of the pandemic.
Reasons for why so many operations have been cancelled has not been made official, however in further findings published within RCEM’s review, over 6,000 hours were lost in ambulance hand overs as paramedics wait to off load patients from ambulances increases, suggesting increasing pressure being put on the healthcare system.
The RCEM project report said: “The College warned that investment and planning would be needed to ensure that the rising levels of demand at the tail-end of Winter 2020/21 did not collide with ongoing infection prevention issues to create dangerously overcrowded Emergency Departments through the spring and summer.
“Regrettably that warning was largely unheeded, and without additional support, trusts saw demand surpass pre-pandemic levels by May, while also juggling the residual effects of the winter Covid spike.
“Now, as we approach another winter, this performance is likely to deteriorate further, with pressures reaching levels unseen for over two decades”
The Winter Flow Project also revealed that 12,150 patients were hospitalised for over seven days between October and November 2021, with fifteen hospitals seeing their number of long-stay patients increase over the eight-week period.
Acute beds have slowly decreased during the last three weeks of November according to the review, going from 26,496 in week two to 26,436 in week four.
During the last week of November RCEM data also revealed that only 62.4% of people who presented themselves to A&E were seen within the four-hour NHS waiting target.
The next set of official statistics from the NHS on cancelled elective operations will be published in February 2022 after resuming in quarter three of 2021/22.