Some operations at risk of delays because of short staffing, says Northampton General Hospital

Northampton General Hospital says pressures could affect theatre time and staff available for surgery.
Northampton General Hospital says pressures could affect theatre time and staff available for surgery.

Pressure on surgeons at Northampton General Hospital could risk how much time is needed to safely operate on patients, a report says.

The hospital is concerned that changes to procedures, short staffing and large workloads could impact on surgeons' theatre time to "deliver safe and effective care of their patients".

They say that two of NGH's nine surgeons could be affected.

A risk register, published as part of a hospital board paper published on January 25, reads: "Two-out-of-nine surgeons do not have adequate theatre time... to deliver safe and effective care of their patients."

Specifically, two available surgeries, which respectively treat glaucoma and a type of skin tumour, have been reassessed and patients need to be dealt with within target times. Both now require theatre time that is "not currently available" because of lack of staff.

It comes after winter pressures meant 40 operations had to be cancelled on the day they were due in December 2017, up from 27 in 2016.

A spokeswoman from Northampton General Hospital said they were mitigating against the original risk.

Sh said: "Our risk register highlights that there is not enough theatre capacity for all our surgeons to have fixed sessions, so the risk is managed by surgeons working flexibly instead.

"As a busy hospital, we balance emergency unplanned surgery with scheduled procedures, and we need to constantly manage the use of our operating theatres, both in terms of having theatres slots available and having the surgical teams needed to safely perform procedures."