'Large number' of hospitals cancelling cancer operations

A "large number" of hospitals are cancelling cancer operations, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons has said, revealing the depth of the NHS funding crisis.

Clare Marx said cancer surgery was no longer protected in the health service, and that hospitals had been cancelling operations since the start of the year.

She told The Observer: "Historically, they have been protected due to their urgent nature.

"However, feedback from our members suggests that since the start of January, a large number of hospitals across the UK are now cancelling cancer surgery.

"It is increasingly clear that no part of the system and no patient is immune from the pressure the NHS is experiencing."

Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston accused the government of "pretty dismal stuff" by "scapegoating" GPs for the pressures in the NHS, after Theresa May expressed frustration about surgeries' opening hours.

"Public & NHS staff deserved better than scapegoating, smoke & mirrors. Needs to start with honest discussion of the background pressures," the MP and chairwoman of the health select committee tweeted.

The latest comments come after it was revealed that more than four in 10 hospitals in England were on "major alert" in the first week of 2017, and the Red Cross called the situation a "humanitarian crisis".

An NHS England spokesman said: "Everyone in the NHS will be pulling out all the stops to make sure all patients get their surgery as quickly as possible.

"There has been a steady increase in operations over the last 15 years, but despite this the NHS is helping more people survive cancer than ever before."

  • Have you had an operation cancelled? Tells us your stories on our Facebook page