Operations rise in October as figures show cancellations remained steady

Scottish hospitals struggling with capacity cancelled more than 500 operations in October, new statistics have revealed.

Picture: Rui Vieira/PA

During the month 2,600 planned operations across NHS Scotland were cancelled, with 522 (one in five) being blamed on hospitals’ capacity and non-clinical reasons.

Amid rising numbers of planned operations - 30,535, up from 28,706 during October 2017 - the proportion of cancelled procedures has remained consistent at 8.5%.

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The 522 equates to 1.7% of the total number of planned operations.

Patients cancelled 986 (3.2%) of the operations, while hospitals say they cancelled 957 (3.1%) for clinical reasons. The remaining 135 surgical procedures were cancelled for unspecified reasons.

The report from the Information Services Division Scotland also revealed the levels of cancellations ranged from 5.1% to 11.4% across individual NHS Boards.

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Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “In October there were over 900 operations carried out across the health service each day on average, up from 848 in the same month last year.

“Cancelled operations for capacity reasons represent a very small fraction, 1.7%, of the number of procedures boards plan.

“The decision for boards to postpone an elective procedure is never taken lightly and any postponed procedures, particularly those cancelled for capacity reasons, will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said: “Hundreds of patients have had their operations cancelled in October alone through no fault of their own.

“Cancelled operations cause huge disruption to the lives of patients and their families. They can be detrimental to people’s physical and mental health too. When you have waited for an operation, often in pain or discomfort, it’s a huge blow to find out it has been cancelled.

“Winter is beginning to bite which brings increasing pressures on our health service.

“The Health Secretary must ensure that hard-working NHS staff can get on with their work safe in the knowledge they have sufficient resources to get the job done.”