Official figures have indicated that as many as 15 operations are being cancelled by the NHS in Scotland every day.
A report into the situation suggested that the cancellations can be attributed to a lack of capacity and resources.
Research conducted by the Scottish government indicated that in the region of 3,000 operations were postponed by hospitals in the six months until October.
Commenting on the issue, the Labour Party’s Jackie Baillie suggested that the existing situation is completely unacceptable.
“Our NHS is our most valued public service and it needs to have the resources to deliver the care Scots need. These figures are absolutely shocking,” Baillie stated.
Baillie also asserted that the Scottish government had failed a health service that is hugely valued in the nation.
“Now more than ever we need a health service free at the point of use based on patient need, not the ability to pay. Our NHS is our most valued public service and it needs to have the resources to deliver the care Scots need. These figures are absolutely shocking, and point to an NHS not getting the support it needs from the SNP government.”
Despite the concerns of the Labour opposition, the Scottish government insist that operations in Scotland which feature the highest clinical need are always prioritised.
Meanwhile, those of a less serious nature are rescheduled for the earliest possible opportunity.
But there is already considerable evidence in Scotland that the NHS has insufficient resources.
The 2015 NHS staff survey, published earlier this month, showed that one-third of workers did not think they had the resources to do their jobs adequately.
Baillie made reference to this situation in her statement to the Scottish parliament.
“Earlier this month only a third of NHS staff believed they had the resources and staff to do their jobs properly. Fifteen cancelled operations per day due to a lack of capacity show the reality of those concerns.”
Figures indicated that the number of cancellations in Scotland rose on a gradual basis from June.
This should come as no surprise considering the fact that the health service is more incumbered in the latter months of the year, owing to winter backlogs.
The NHS in Scotland faces similar funding difficulties to the English health service.
Finance secretary John Swinney announced £500 million of extra funding For NHS Scotland in his most recent budget, but this merely prompted accusations that Scotland is lagging significantly behind the rest of the United Kingdom.
Yet the Scottish government claims that the number of cancellations were relatively paltry compared to the total operations conducted, and also that clinical motivations were really involved in the ultimate cancellation.
“A very small number of operations are cancelled for non-clinical reasons. 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 are clear with boards that operations for patients with the highest clinical need should not be cancelled.”
It was also pointed out that patient cancellations are by far the biggest cause of operations being rescheduled.