NHS Scotland only had to cancel 2% of operations in August 2019 due to the unavailability of staff or theatres. This is astonishing in the circumstances and cannot be bettered. To have zero operations cancelled for this reason would by definition require over-staffing and over-resourcing to enable coping with inevitably fluctuating demand. You can imagine the headlines:

‘Miles Briggs accuses SNP of wasting tax-payers money on idle surgeons and empty operating theatres!’

As for the cancellations by the patient or for clinical reasons, these are good signs showing that patients feel they can cancel if they are unsure or afraid in some way and that surgeons feel free to cancel when they learn of new information telling them that to proceed might be harmful for the patient.