- Chris Morris
- Feb 8, 2017
- 5509 Views
New figures indicates that NHS Scotland was forced to cancel nearly 8,000 operations during the last twelve months.
And the reasoning behind this figure will surprise few involved with the NHS, as a lack of resources has been blamed for the problem.
Data published by NHS Scotland indicates that 7,740 planned operations were cancelled during the 2016 for non-clinical reasons.
These include a lack of available beds and staff and dirty equipment.
This was particularly problematical in January when 868 patients were informed that their operations had been cancelled.
However, despite the difficulties within the healthcare system, most operations continue to be cancelled by patient themselves.
But from May to December 2016, non-clinical cancellations increased by 25.94% when compared to the same period in the previous year.
Commenting on the issue, Scottish Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar asserted that the figures are indicative of a lack of investment in the NHS system.
“Every single day NHS staff tell us that they are under pressure and under-resourced. Now we see that close to 8000 planned operations were cancelled last year because hospitals did not have the capacity to cope. A decade of SNP mismanagement of our NHS means that patients are being let down because hospitals are not getting the support they need.”
While Health Secretary Shona Robison outlined the measures already taken by the government with the intention of resolving this issue.
“Decisions to cancel planned operations are never taken lightly and we are working with health boards to make sure we manage capacity and planning in order to keep all cancellations to a minimum. We have made it clear to boards that patients with the greatest clinical need, such as cancer patients, should not have their operations cancelled.”
Robison also took the time to put the results into perspective, suggesting that the number of cancellations for non-clinical reasons were relatively trivial in number.
“Of the 27,153 planned operations scheduled for December, 644 operations (or 2.4%) were postponed for non-clinical or capacity reasons. The highest rates of cancellations continue to be for clinical reasons or those cancelled by the patient. On average there are 900 operations per day and over 320,00 carried out in the last year.”
And Robison also believes that although the situation can be considered serious, there is statistical evidence available indicating that the problem is not deteriorating.
“Since we started publishing this data from May 2015 we have seen the number of cancelled operations remain relatively stable, with understandable fluctuation over the winter months when additional demands are put on our health service. Health boards continue to work to ensure disruption to patients is always kept to an absolute minimum, and any postponed procedures will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.”
NHS Scotland first published data related to cancelled operations in May 2015.