Scottish hospitals see highest level of cancelled operations since pre-pandemic

The number of cancelled operations in Scottish hospitals is at the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic, figures show.

In June, 22,014 operations in Scotland were scheduled to go ahead, with 1,643 (7.5%) forced to be cancelled, according to Public Health Scotland figures.

While the number of operations slated was the highest since February last year – before the pandemic took hold – the number of cancellations was the highest since March 2020, when the impact of Covid-19 forced Scotland into lockdown.

The figures show 642 of the cancellations were due to clinical reasons, while 417 were because of capacity or non-clinical problems.

A further 502 were cancelled by the patient.

Scottish Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “These new figures show that even though life feels more normal, NHS services are under more pressure than ever.

“No hospital will be taking the decision to cancel operations lightly. Staff know it means more discomfort and pain for patients.

“But services are straining, and with too few resources clinicians are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“Staff are already knackered after bearing the brunt of the pandemic.

“The Scottish Government have to find a way to show them a light at the end of the tunnel. That means meaningful support for those on the front line, with new clear targets and a comprehensive NHS recovery plan.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “Despite the challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, our NHS still managed to carry out over 600 operations on average per day in June.

“It is a testament to our hardworking NHS staff that over 90% of operations continue as planned.

“As our NHS responded to a growing number of hospital admissions alongside urgent and emergency care during the early part of 2021, the capacity to undertake planned procedures naturally reduced.

“Pausing non-urgent activity and the phased reintroduction of services has inevitably led to planned operations being cancelled.

“We are working with health boards to remobilise our NHS safely, ensuring decision-making is clinically led and evidence-based.

“As part of this we will publish an NHS recovery plan within 100 days of this new term of Government, setting out our aim to not only restore activity to previous levels but, crucially, to exceed them.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992