Hospitals cancelled more than 20 operations a day for non-clinical reasons
3 January 2018, 13:43
More than 20 planned operations were cancelled per day in Scotland's hospitals in November for reasons including lack of beds, staff sickness and dirty equipment.
A total of 664 operations were called off by hospital staff due to capacity or other non-clinical reasons that month, the latest official figures show.
Causes for these cancellations included beds, staff or equipment being unavailable, workers being ill or unavailable due to an emergency operation taking priority and equipment being dirty.
Further reasons included operating theatre sessions over-running, leading to the patient cancelling.
There were 30,820 planned operations across Scotland in November and 2,720 (8.8%) of these were cancelled, down from 9% the previous November but up from 8.5% on October 2017.
The rate of cancellation in November 2017 differed across health boards from 5.4% to 15.3%.
The majority of cancelled planned operations that month 995 were called off by the hospital for clinical reasons, followed by 977 cancelled by the patient.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "It's welcome that the overall cancellation rate for planned operations has improved compared to the same period last year.
"In the last year, around 850 operations were carried out each day on average, with only a small fraction cancelled due to capacity reasons.
"Decisions to cancel planned operations are never taken lightly and we are working with health boards to make sure they manage capacity and planning in order to keep all cancellations to a minimum.
"We have made clear to boards that patients with the greatest clinical need, such as cancer patients, should not have their operations cancelled."