Whipps Cross Hospital cancelled 28 operations in November during winter ‘crisis’

Whipps Cross Hospital, in Leytonstone, cancelled 28 urgent operations in November. Photo: PA

Whipps Cross Hospital, in Leytonstone, cancelled 28 urgent operations in November. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

An A&E serving thousands of people across Wanstead and Woodford has been hit hard by what one charity executive dubbed “a humanitarian crisis”.

Staff at Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, were so inundated with patients in November they were forced to cancel 28 urgent operations.

A trust spokeswoman revealed that 75 per cent of cancellations were due to earlier operations taking longer than expected.

She said: “We make every effort to ensure patients are operated on safely and quickly, and in the rare instance of cancellation where possible additional theatre lists are scheduled to ensure patients are quickly rebooked.”

On Friday, British Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson said the country was facing “a humanitarian crisis” in hospital and ambulance services this winter.

But health secretary Jeremy Hunt, in an emergency statement to the House of Commons on Monday, claimed hospitals were performing well in the face of unprecedented demand.

He said: “The Tuesday after Christmas was the busiest day in the history of the NHS. Some hospitals are reporting that A&E attendances are up to 30pc higher compared to last year.

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“However, there are indeed a number of trusts where the situation has been extremely fragile.”

Whipps Cross hospital was rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission in July.

A Barts Health spokeswoman said: “As is usual for this time of year our three emergency departments are currently busier than usual, with care being supported by plans implemented last year to more efficiently assess and treat patients.

“To ensure safety our teams will always prioritise the treatment of those most urgently in need, and we therefore urge people before coming to A&E to consider instead visiting their GP, local pharmacy or walk-in centre where they may receive appropriate care sooner.”

Figures released by NHS Improvement show A&E’s are currently seeing the smallest percentage of patients they have done since 2004.