Better funding is the answer to operating theatre problems
I have seen already how the recent research on organisation of operating theatres is being portrayed in the media as time wasted.
I am sure that our MP and Health Minister Philip Dunne and others will try to use it to support the case that the current funding gap can be cured by improved efficiency.
As someone who over the last nine years has undergone three abdominal surgical procedures at Shrewsbury, three joint replacements at Gobowen and just two weeks ago major heart surgery at Stoke I think I am in a good position to comment.
If we were machines on a production line it would be reasonable to seek 100 per cent efficiency at all stages of the process.
Sadly we human beings and theatre timescales cannot be predicted with complete accuracy neither can availability of beds for admission, beds in intensive care and ward beds for recovery. The problem is compounded by bed occupancy in some cases at over 95 per cent which gives no flexibility compared with an optimum recommended 85 per cent. I have witnessed at first hand over the past two weeks the intolerable stress levels imposed on nursing staff and on patients waiting for up to six hours in reception to see whether a bed would be available.
A solution must be to increase bed availability to provide a reliable balance and an efficient flow through theatre to make best use of surgical teams, this would of course mean additional staffing and funding but is an issue that must be addressed.
David Clarke, Aston on Clun