Equipment failure blamed for cancelled ops at BGH

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A failed ventilation system in one of the operating theatres at the BGH led to a “disappointing level” of surgical cancellations during August, according to NHS Borders.

In addition, nine scheduled operations were postponed to make way for emergency procedures.

The local health board was responding to data from NHS Scotland’s Information Services Division revealing that in August it had the highest rate of cancellations because of “capacity or other non-clinical reasons” of any health authority in Scotland.

Out of 468 elective operations planned for the BGH during the month, 57 did not take place and, of these, 21 were cancelled by either the patient or the hospital for clinical reasons. But 36 of the procedures were cancelled for “capacity or other non-clinical reasons”, compared to an average of 17% which fell into that category across Scotland.

MSP John Lamont stated: “NHS Borders is now the only health board where operations are most likely to be cancelled because the hospital is short of staff or equipment. Cancelling operations is a massive worry for patients, but it is also a huge waste of resources.”

Evelyn Rodger, director of nursing, midwifery and acute services with NHS Borders, said: “I recognise that a cancelled procedure is extremely frustrating for patients and their families, but the safety and clinical needs of our patients will always be considered first. During August we experienced significant equipment failure of a specialist ventilation system vital for complex operations. Immediate action was taken to fix the problem, but it did mean that one of the theatres was out of action for four days.

“August also saw a high number of emergency admissions requiring surgery which meant that in nine cases the emergency procedures took clinical priority. No one takes a decision to cancel a procedure lightly and a dedicated piece of work is under way to improve our performance.”