Common Health Question
If the hospital cancels your operation at the last minute for non-clinical reasons, they should offer you a new date for your operation. This date should be within 28 days of the date your operation was originally booked for. This is a pledge in the NHS Constitution.
This 28-day standard covers all planned and booked hospital operations, including day surgery (where you don’t need to stay in hospital overnight). It doesn’t cover minor operations carried out at outpatient appointments or clinics.
This means that the hospital cancels your operation:
There are many non-clinical reasons for hospitals cancelling operations, such as:
If you’re offered another date within 28 days, but the new date is not convenient, you can choose to be treated on a different date, even if this falls after the 28 days.
In this case, you can choose to:
If you have not been offered an appointment within 28 days, you should contact the organisation (Clinical Commissioning Group or NHS England) that commissions and funds your treatment.
If you are not happy with the organisation’s response, you also have the option of taking the complaint further using the NHS complaints procedure.
The cancelled operations pledge does not apply, but you still have the right to start consultant-led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral for non-urgent conditions, as stated in the NHS Constitution.
Read the answers to more questions about operations, tests and procedures.