Pre-op surgical care to help reduce cancelled operations

DEDICATED NHS care teams in England will screen patients and develop personalised plans ahead of surgical procedures to boost recovery as well as cut the number of operations that are cancelled on the day.

This is the stated aim of a new NHS Elective Care Recovery Plan which is intended to provide access to specialist teams of nurses, care co-ordinators and doctors for patients awaiting major procedures to help ensure they are "fighting fit" for surgery.

A third of on-the-day cancellations are due to people not being clinically ready for a variety of reasons, such as having a long-term condition including diabetes or high blood pressure which has not been diagnosed or properly managed.

NHS England says earlier pre-operative screening will also identify patients with additional health needs who would benefit from extra support both before and after surgery, such as help to stop smoking or get physically fitter, or engagement with mental health services.

It plans to have the dedicated care teams in place from April 2023, forming part of a major package of initiatives to be set out in the NHS Elective Recovery Plan.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS in England, said: "Last minute cancellations for health reasons are not only a major source of frustration and anxiety for patients, but cost the NHS and taxpayers, so it’s absolutely right that we help people to get fighting fit for surgery.

"The NHS is committed to providing care for all so as we have said all along, it is crucial that anyone who is concerned about their health comes forward so staff can help you get the support and treatment you need."

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