Intended for healthcare professionals


NHS cancels planned surgery and outpatient appointments in response to winter crisis

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 03 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k19
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

Hospitals have been advised by NHS England to defer outpatient appointments and day case surgery and extend an existing deferral on non-urgent surgery until the end of January in a bid to ease mounting pressure on services this winter.

The National Emergency Pressures Panel, chaired by NHS England’s medical director, Bruce Keogh, has also told hospitals to place consultants in emergency units to assess whether patients are presenting with a genuine medical emergency.

The measures were taken as the service struggled to cope with the volume of patients presenting to emergency departments. The panel noted that the NHS has been under “sustained pressure” since Christmas, with early indications of an increase in flu prevalence, high levels of respiratory illness, and limited bed capacity.

To help free up capacity NHS England has told hospitals to defer day case procedures …

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