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GPs go forth

Jeremy Hunt apologises to patients whose operations are cancelled

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has apologised to patients who will see operations and hospital apponitments cancelled this month.

His comments come after NHS England yesterday told hospitals to extend a freeze on non-urgent care until 31 January.

Following the denial by NHS England's acute care lead this morning that trusts were in a 'crisis', Mr Hunt told Sky News that there was 'no question' that there were 'real pressures' on the NHS amid the 'busiest week of the year'.

But he added: 'What is different this year compared to last year is that last year we had a lot of operations cancelled at the last minute, a lot of people were called up the day before their operation and told, "I’m sorry, it can’t go ahead".

'And we recognise that it is better, if you are unfortunately going to have to cancel or postpone some operations, to do it in a planned way, and that’s why this year this independent panel has decided to take this decision and that, I think, in the end, is better for people.

'Although if you are someone whose operation has been delayed I don’t belittle that for one moment and indeed I apologise to everyone who that has happened to.'

Mr Hunt added that 'heroic' NHS staff were working 'beyond the call of duty'.

Speaking on Radio 4 this morning, NHS England director of acute care Professor Keith Willett suggested the current urgent care situation was not a crisis because NHS England has a plan to deal with it.

GP leaders told Pulse the measures taken by NHS England were 'a joke' which would 'just produce more workload' for GPs.

This comes as Public Health England has warned of a rapid rise in flu cases and Northern Irish GP out-of-hours services have buckled under the pressures of winter ailments.

Readers' comments (17)

  • doctordog.

    Happy new year from Jeremy!,

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  • He apologises but he still keep cutting beds. He calls NHS staff heroic working beyond the call of duty but still allows the GMC, appraisals and CQC to go after them to add to their stress and create more distrust. Jezza the crocodile shedding tears.

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  • operations cancelled in advance rather than on the day, sounds like huge improvement there well done. Hopefully they will divert to Nuffield then even better.

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  • So the NHS only provides elective care for 11 months out of 12 now - and that is considered a success? How long before it is 10 then 9 then 8 months out of 12?

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  • Vinci Ho

    The other spin off from this is ; from now on, for any time period of the year when plenty of operations are cancelled, there will be early announcements in the following year so that these operations can be ‘naturally’ cancelled, the new social norm of NHS.
    Of course , eventually all non urgent , elective operations are to be cancelled throughout the whole year with plenty of warnings for you to ‘prepare’ . We love you , Agent Hunt

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  • I guess with the Lansley invention of the internal market our secondary care chums will not be making any money in January further destabilising the NHS good planning there then.Are they being compensated for the loss of earnings.

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  • Note the difference when hospitals are told to cancel operations by NHSE rather than on one day of JD strike action... mmmm.

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  • Well heres a first JH and I agree "its not the type of service I want to see"

    2 responses;

    a) will you please accept a knighthood for service above and beyond and go away leaving anyone with gumption, common sense and a small degree of clinical acumen to take over?

    b) do you have a cunning plan for clearing the backlog of the now postponed elective operations? By the way stopping/blocking GP referrals isn't a correct response.

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  • Surgeons and anaesthetists and theatre staff all twiddling their thumbs. All for the lack of beds. Ridiculous.

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  • Vinci Ho

    David Chung , incumbent Vice President of Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Scotland , wrote this article in NewsStatesman:

    ‘’As an emergency doctor, I know the “engine fail” light on the NHS is flashing’’

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