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Alarm raised over tripling in cancelled NHS surgery and clinic appointments

Could this happen in the United States?

In a report from the U.K. Telegraph, an alarm has been raised.

Nine million patients a year are seeing crucial hospital appointments and operations canceled by administrators - almost triple the number a decade ago, official statistics show.

The rise has occurred over the past ten years, at a steady rate, according to a chart developed by the Telegraph. 

While the NHS has targets for diagnosis and treatment, and to reschedule surgery within 28 days, if it is canceled, there are no penalties to prevent trusts repeatedly putting outpatients appointments on hold.  

Will health IT save the day?  

The plan, launched in January, says that within five years, up to 30 million hospital appointments - one in three - should be scrapped, with patients instead having Skype consultations or being monitored via smartphone. Officials say this will mean the most vulnerable patients who need face-to-face slots will not face such long waits and delays.

 Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said too many patients were seeing their health worsen, while appointments were delayed. She said: “More outpatient appointments being canceled by hospitals translates into growing anxiety, distress and pain for hundreds of thousands of older people. While some clinic appointments are routine, others are crucial steps in the effective and timely treatment of very serious and escalating health problems.”
Professor Andrew Goddard, President of the Royal Royal College of Physicians said the rise in cancellations was a symptom of rising pressure on hospitals, and growing numbers of cases arriving via Accident & Emergency. "Emergency admissions have risen by around 28 percent in the same period of time, putting more stress on an overstretched system," he said.
The pensioner who was blind by the time he finally got his appointment
Bob Dalton, 74, should have been given a follow-up outpatient appointment at Southampton General Hospital within a fortnight, following an operation to repair a detached retina. However, he wasn’t seen until over a month later - by which point he was blind in his right eye. Mr. Dalton, a retired RAF administrator, from Alton, was worried about changes in his eyesight and repeatedly made calls to the hospital.  By the time he finally saw his surgeon, he had suffered a total detachment of his retina.
These are but symptoms of an overstretched and underfunded health system in the U.K. The NHS is divided into trusts (smaller regional group administrations). All have suffered the same changes in canceled surgeries and hospital appointments. During 2017-2018 some disparities were noted:  Patients in the South were more likely to see appointments canceled. The U.S. health system is struggling to cope with its aging population, more advanced and more effective treatments, and better outcomes. While the U.S. system has already deteriorated somewhat by inconsistent federal regulations, penalties, incentives and a polarized politic we are considering a Universal Payer plan. The proposed system although called socialized medicine, it is not. Socialism is where the government owns the assets. The proposed system for the United States mandates a uniform payment model for private capitalistic infrastructure.  What will our solution accomplish? 

Alarm raised over tripling in cancelled NHS appointments: Nine million patients a year are seeing crucial hospital appointments and operations cancelled by administrators - almost triple the number a decade ago, official statistics show.

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