Future Focus

Routine hospital care postponed due to national bank holiday

Cancer treatments and eye surgeries among operations postponed
Opinions have been divided as thousand of NHS operations and appointments were cancelled or postponed due to Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral, on Monday 19 September. Some patients have cancelled their own appointments, where others have complained of the disruption.
According to the independent global media platform openDemocracy, the announcement of the last-minute bank holiday saw doctors being advised to reschedule ‘non-urgent procedures and appointments’ such as replacement surgeries, eye surgery, maternity checks, and cancer treatments. Emergency and ‘timesensitive’ treatment continued, but in some places on a reduced timetable.
Imperial College Healthcare, which runs five hospitals in London, said it had “decided on balance it is best to postpone much of the planned care that was due to take place.”
Prior to the bank holiday, Professor Philip Banfield, of the British Medical Association, said: “There remains confusion over what NHS services will be provided in hospitals. NHS England must urgently clarify their advice about the services they are expected to provide and how they will be resourced to do so.”
While the main reason for most hospitals closing is out of respect for the funeral, another problem was the unexpected need for new childcare arrangements due to schools being closed.
A pregnant woman speaking to The Independent commented that she received a text from her hospital saying that due to “unforeseen circumstances” her appointment had been cancelled and a new date would be “rescheduled shortly.” She said, “I’m really disappointed. Yes, it’s a routine scan, but that’s another week or two until I’m seen and wondering whether my baby is healthy – which means quite a lot of anxiety, sitting, and waiting.”