UNION chiefs say cancelled operations at Sunderland Royal Hospital are a “drain” on the NHS.
A total of 262 planned operations at The Royal were cancelled in 2013/14 – down six per cent on the previous year.
In total, 1,924 planned surgical procedures were cancelled in the North East’s hospitals during the period.
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) director Glenn Turp said: “While it isn’t clear whether all cancellations have been made by the NHS, it will clearly cause patients and their relatives unnecessary anxiety as they wait for the treatment they need.
“Hospitals are simply over-stretched as they face ever increasing demand from an ageing population, combined with a shortage of qualified staff.
“RCN research has found that trusts are struggling to fill up to 20,000 vacant nursing posts.
“We are now experiencing a nursing workforce crisis, and attacks on the pay and conditions of staff are making it harder for trusts to retain experienced nursing staff, let alone recruit more.
“The number of cancellations is a further drain on valuable NHS resources.”
A spokeswoman for NHS England in Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear said: “NHS England believes all cancellations should be avoided wherever possible as we recognise having an operation cancelled can cause huge distress for patients and their families.”