THE number of hospital operations cancelled in Scotland due to factors including a lack of beds, staff and equipment rose in December.
Official figures show there were 30,002 scheduled operations across NHS Scotland during the month, of which 2,920 were cancelled either by the patient or the hospital.
The 9.7% overall cancellation rate remained the same as in October and November but 590 operations (2%) were cancelled by the hospital due to ‘’capacity or non-clinical reasons’’, up from 540 the previous month.
Reasons can include the unavailability of beds, staff and equipment as well as employee illness, dirty equipment and theatre sessions overrunning.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “The number of operations cancelled for non-clinical reasons remains a very small percentage of the overall number of scheduled procedures taking place in the NHS in Scotland.
“However, we are always working with health boards to make sure we manage capacity and planning, to keep all cancellations to a minimum.
“On occasion, planned operations may need to rescheduled and these decisions are never taken lightly.
“Health boards work to ensure disruption to patients is always kept to an absolute minimum and any postponed procedures will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.
“We have made it clear to boards that patients with the greatest clinical need, such as cancer patients, should not have their operations cancelled.”