Cancelled! Cancelled! An audit on cancellation of paediatric surgical cases on the day of surgery in a district general hospital (2019)

Type of publication:
Conference abstract

Singh M.; *Annadurai S.

Anaesthesia; Jul 2019; vol. 74 ; p. 90

Surgical case cancellation has significant impacts on operating theatre efficiency and the UK loses a substantial amount of money on these cases [1]. A recent prospective study over a 1-week period in an NHS hospital suggested a adult surgical case cancellation rate between 10% and 14% and the majority of these cases were due to non-clinical reasons [2]. It is distressing for the patient and affects outcomes. We undertook an audit regarding cancellation of paediatric surgical cases on the day of surgery at a district general hospital (DGH) to look for various reasons for the cancellations and to evaluate the services. Methods We collected prospective data from the hospital’s database regarding cancelled paediatric surgical procedures over a 6-month period from February 2018 to July 2018 in our DGH. Results We found that a total of 70 paediatric surgical cases were cancelled on the day of surgery out of total of 653 paediatric surgical cases, which is an approximately 10% cancellation rate over the 6-month period with a range of cancellations from 7% in May and June to 18% in February. We observed that 76% of the cancellations were of elective cases. We subdivided the reasons for cancellations into organisational, patient, surgical and anaesthetic factors. Among the organisational factors, 23% of cancellations were due to ‘unavailable beds’. We observed that 11% of cancellations occurred because patients ‘did not attend’, 7% of patients were reported as ‘sick’ and 3% of patients did not follow preoperative fasting instructions. Surgeons cancelled 15% of cases for the reason ‘procedure no longer required’, whereas anaesthetist ‘sickness’ was the reason for cancellation in 9% of cases. Discussion Cancellations prolong the waiting list and worsens patient experiences and clinical outcomes. In our audit, we found that the main reasons for cancellations were non-clinical. To improve the surgical reasons for cancellation, we suggest timely rereview of the need for surgery. Although staff allocation is looked at regularly, some cases were cancelled due to the unavailability of staff, which can be improved on. We discussed the idea of seasonal planning of cases. We plan to re-audit with the aim of investigating cancellation rates in elective cases over a 1-year period to also review the cancellation rate during the winter months.

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