Watson shocked at scale of cancelled ops

Adrian Watson (Editorial Image).

Adrian Watson (Editorial Image).

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South Antrim UUP MLA Adrian Cochrane-Watson has expressed his shock after it was revealed 750 operations were cancelled in Antrim Area Hospital and a further 447 in Whiteabbey in a 12 month period.

He said the information was uncovered after his party sought answers from the Health Minister about concerns raised by a a growing numbers of constituents over hospital delays and cancellations.

Mr Cochrane-Watson said: “The NHS is facing one of its biggest ever challenges. A devastating range of specialities are reporting worsening service provision, staff morale is hitting rock bottom, our hospital waiting lists are in absolute turmoil and now my Party has been able to reveal the true scale of cancelled operations.

“From May 2014 to April 2015, the period for which most recent figures are available, there were thousands of operations cancelled all across Northern Ireland. Worryingly Antrim Area Hospital saw 750, an average of over 60 every single month.

“In particular in March and April 2015 Antrim Area had to cancel more operations than any other hospital across Northern Ireland as a result of pressures in its Emergency Department,” he said.

“Coming a week after it was revealed that there are 373,000 people across Northern Ireland waiting for tests or a hospital appointment, it is clear that the crisis across our Health Service is deepening. This unfortunately is now having an impact on the quality and safety of patient care. That is especially upsetting considering the tireless commitment of staff.

“Making people wait for months to be even given an appointment, then for several more for a date of surgery is bad enough in the first place, but with 750 being cancelled in Antrim and a further 447 in Whiteabbbey is simply not acceptable,” the Assemblyman said.