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Rise in cancelled operations in hospitals in England

The number of operations cancelled across hospitals in England rose in December 2014. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA

The number of operations cancelled across hospitals in England rose in December 2014 compared to a month earlier according to figures released by NHS England.

Newly-released statistics show the number of cancelled operations in November 2014 were 319 but this rose to 408 in December.

A year earlier, in December 2013, the number of cancelled operations was 250.


Labour: A&E figures show hospitals are at their limit

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said hospitals in England are 'at their limits'. Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said figures showing A&E waiting times have been reduced in England but are still missing targets show hospitals "remain at their limits and are sailing dangerously close to the wind".

He insisted that the "A&E crisis shows no sign of easing and too many patients continue to suffer poor care".

Mr Burnham added: "It is having a damaging effect on the care of thousands of patients right across the NHS, with far too many now suffering the distress of having even the most urgent operations cancelled at the last minute.

"David Cameron must personally explain the steps he will take to bring England's A&Es back up to acceptable standards. He caused this crisis by making it harder to see a GP and taking social care support away from hundreds of thousands of people."

NHS England praises reduction in A&E waiting times

The NHS England target for people waiting four hours or less in A&E departments is 95%. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Improvements in the number of people waiting four hours or less in A&E departments in England have been hailed as "encouraging" by NHS England.

NHS England's national director of commissioning operations, Dame Barbara Hakin, praised staff "for the excellent job they are doing."

For the second successive week there has been an improvement in A&E performance and we are seeing nine out of 10 patients in England within four hours. It is encouraging that performance is moving in the right direction.

– Dame Barbara Hakin

Meanwhile, the NHS 111 phone line took 234,000 calls for the week ending 18th January, down from 255,000 the previous week and a dramatic reduction on the peak of 439,000 for the week ending 28th December.


Ebola efforts 'need to be redoubled' to combat virus

Efforts to fight Ebola must be "redoubled" if the virus is to be eradicated, a doctor involved in experimental vaccine trials to treat it has said.

Dr Jeremy Farrar said despite encouraging news some countries, such as Mali, are now Ebola free, it "continues to take a terrible toll elsewhere".

It comes as vaccines backed by British drugmakers were on their way to LIberia, one of the countries hit hardest by the deadly disease.

NHS England: A&E waiting times slightly reduced

NHS England released figures showing a slight improvement in A&E waiting times. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA

The number of people waiting four hours or less in A&E units in England has improved slightly according to figures released by NHS England.

The target for A&E admissions being seen within four hours is 95% but last week 92.4% people were seen within the time frame compared with 89.8% in the previous week.

Overall the NHS in England also experienced slightly lower levels of attendance this week with 377,000 patients attending A&E - down from 389,400 the previous week.

NHS England's National Director of Commissioning Operations, Dame Barbara Hakin, described the figures as "encouraging" but said frontline health services continue to face "huge pressures".

Plastic surgery 'should be done by specialist surgeons'

A patient undergoing cosmetic surgery Credit: PA Wire

Plastic surgeons should be prevented from carrying out cosmetic surgery in areas outside their specialty, the Royal College of Surgeons has said.

The college has proposed a number of new measures aimed at ensuring the same standards are met in the world of cosmetic surgery as those involving medical surgery.

Under the plans, surgeons would be required to show they have carried out a certain number of procedures on that particular part of the body before, and would only be certified to perform the surgery related to the speciality they have been trained in.

The college also called for plastic surgeons to be listed on a register where patients could access "clear unbiased and credible information" about the the surgeon and the operation before deciding on the treatment.

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