NHS Hospitals will see 40 per cent of fewer patients today than on a normal working Friday, costing the NHS thousands of pounds.
The Telegraph sent a survey to all NHS hospitals in England asking for details of outpatient clinics and day case surgery, where the patent is operated on and goes home the same day.
One third of the trusts responded to the survey, and revealed that 15,500 fewer patients will be seen today. Ten hospital trusts said the change to scheduled care was due to patient choice, and a further 8 blamed the cancellations on staff holidays.
If this pattern was repeated across the country, it could mean 46,000 fewer patients will be seen today than a normal working Friday. With operating theatres and consulting rooms standing idle, this early shutdown will cost the NHS thousands of pounds.
Some hospitals reported that closure was due to patient choice. The University of North Staffordshire Foundation Trust admitted that it will see 444 fewer patients today, and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust will run 78 fewer outpatient clinics because less people wanted appointments.
Other hospitals are closing services because of staff holidays. Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust will see 718 fewer patients because of planned reductions in clinics and staff leave. Kettering General Hospital NHS Trust has cancelled 34 clinics because of staff holidays, meaning 445 patients will not be seen today.
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of The Patients Association said:
“Senior Managers at Trusts must ensure the services they provide meet the needs of patients in their area."
"Trusts need to make sure they have an appropriate staff in place to cover the Christmas period. Trusts know this holiday is coming, and patients should not have to wait in pain and discomfort due to poor management."
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