A CANCER patient has hit out at Coventry’s ‘chaotic’ University Hospital after staff cancelled his potentially life-saving operation twice in one week.
Bruce Knight was wearing a surgical gown and socks and waiting to be taken for the vital surgery when he was told there were no beds available.
The 73-year-old granfather who has pancreatic cancer, was due to have his gall bladder and part of his pancreas removed by surgeons at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) on January 17.
But after four hours of waiting on a ward, he was told the hospital was too full and that he should get dressed and return home because his procedure had been cancelled.
This was the second time in just one week that Bruce had has his operation call-off, after his first scheduled procedure on January 10 was cancelled because of a ‘red alert’ at the hospital.
Bruce, of Nuneaton, said: “It is supposed to be a six to eight hour operation and the surgeon said it needed doing sooner rather than later.
“Because the hospital is a major treatment centre for the area, they simply need more high dependency beds. It sounds like chaos there.
“I need two surgeons to do my operation because it takes a long time and everything was in place until it fell down for the lack of beds.
“It’s simply not good enough.
“I’m sitting here with a tumour that needs removing.
“Surely, that is something that needs doing pretty urgently.”
Bruce was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas in March last year.
He underwent gruelling radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions up until November in order to shrink the tumour enough for him to have the procedure.
Now his wife, Val, is worried that his tumour could start growing again if his operation keeps getting postponed.
She said: “Who knows what could happen to him if he doesn’t have this operation.
“How can they cancel surgery for cancer patients?
“This needs drawing attention to, how can a hospital that big not have enough high dependency beds.
“It is having an impact on the family, on our grandchildren, it is not fair.
“If my husband dies, I will sue the hospital, but that’s not what I want, I want him alive.”
Val emailed UHCW chief executive Andy Hardy after her husband’s operation was cancelled for the first time, but claims she received no response from him or his PA.
And she says no one at the hospital has been able to confirm Bruce’s operation will not get cancelled again.
“Next time, I’m going to stay in the hospital overnight and I am not leaving, I am not coming home until the operation is done,” Val added.
“It can’t be cancelled again, it just can’t – because of the time scale and the stress is killing us.
“It is affecting us, it’s affecting our children and it’s affecting our grandchildren.
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust has apologised to the couple and Bruce’s operation has now been rescheduled for February 7.
David Eltringham, chief operating officer at UHCW, said: “Like almost every NHS hospital in the country we have recently seen high demand for our services and we have had to take some incredibly difficult and rare decisions based on the clinical needs of our patients.
“The patient’s operation was cancelled on one occasion because the hospital was full, including our intensive care unit.
“I sincerely apologise for the distress that the cancellation has caused, but the hospital is working with the patient to put a plan in place that is acceptable to him.”