Most hospitals have no operations at the weekend despite national backlog of 7.5 million procedures

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • Fifty-one per cent of hospitals have no planned surgery on the weekends

More than half of hospitals close their operating theatres at weekends, despite a national backlog of at least 7.5million procedures.

Fifty-one per cent of hospitals have no operating theatres performing planned surgery, such as hip and knee replacements, on Saturdays and Sundays.

This is based on a sample of 81 hospital trusts in England which responded to a Freedom of Information request.

The figures, supplied to Labour, also suggest there are four times as many operations on a weekday compared with weekends.

That is based on responses from 49 hospital trusts, which reported carrying out an average of 795 procedures on weekdays in 2022/23 compared with just 176 on Saturdays or Sundays. 

Fifty-one per cent of hospitals have no operating theatres performing planned surgery, such as hip and knee replacements, on Saturdays and Sundays (Stock image)

An estimated 7.71million routine hospital treatments were waiting to be carried out at the end of October, and more than six million patients are languishing in discomfort on waiting lists.

Dennis Reed, of the group Silver Voices, which campaigns for older patients, said: ‘We are in a crisis situation, so we need to be on a war footing, and that means operations during unsocial hours – potentially operations carried out 24 hours a day.’

Labour has pledged to ‘ramp up’ weekend hospital appointments, pledging £1.1billion to cut the NHS backlog by asking doctors and nurses to work overtime at weekends and evenings.

The Department of Health did not respond to a request for comment.

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