Very few operations now cancelled due to capacity despite increases in surgery

Total Planned Operations and percentage of cancelled planned operations, by reason, up to April 2021  This is a chart showing, for NHS Scotland, the total planned operations and the percentage of patients who had their planned operation cancelled for the reasons of clinical, non-clinical/capacity, cancelled by patient or other reasons. Data is from April 2019 to April 2021. A red vertical line at March 2020 shows the point where the NHS was placed under emergency measures to the COVID-19 pandemic. The data shows a peak in non-clinical/capacity reasons in March 2020 due to the emergency measures.

From NHS Scotland today:

Of all planned operations during April 2021, 518 (2.8%) were cancelled by the hospital based on clinical reasons, 252 (1.4%) were cancelled by the hospital due to capacity or non-clinical reasons, 319 (1.7%) were cancelled by the patient and 52 (0.3%) were cancelled due to other reasons.

After inevitable increases, to cope with increasing covid hospitalisations during the first wave of infections in February March 2020 and in October to December 2020, the number of planned operations cancelled due to ‘no beds available’, ‘staff not available’, ‘equipment not available’ and ‘theatre session overran’ has fallen for the last three months to a level, comparable to that before the pandemic.

This figure of only 319 out of 18 630, is effectively the fewest feasible in an organisation with around 160 000 staff and dealing with, for example,1.65 million A&E patients in one year.

To achieve zero cancellations would require significant over-staffing and over-resourcing at a level that opposition parties would love to see and criticise.

One thought on “Very few operations now cancelled due to capacity despite increases in surgery

  1. I’d like to hear this kind of thing from ScotGov more often – preferably as part of the briefings. What happened to those anyway? (Rhetorical).

    Driving home yesterday afternoon, I caught the comments at the end of the FM’s update.

    It was hard to tell, but Dross (who completely threw me for a minute by sounding quite grown up) seemed to be suggesting that we could ease off faster because hospitals weren’t overrun with Covid cases. I’ve heard this kind of remark before (probably when silly enough to give that phone-in radio programme another chance). “The hospitals are empty. They’re all sitting around twiddling their thumbs”

    Did I misunderstand him? If not, and that’s his party’s reasoning, no wonder there’s such a horrific backlog elsewhere! I couldn’t attend properly – had to concentrate, due to a filter lane/roadworks situation. So I filtered him out somewhat.

    I filtered out Starwar’s sanctimonious drone before he even started his question. Whatever it was he said, you have to assume it was part of a strategy agreed at the Secret Meeting with the “think tank”. He seemed to be continuing Labour’s habit of demanding things ScotGov was already doing, but I couldn’t swear to it.

    Caught Willie Rennie. Does not being able to remember what he said make me a bad person?

    3 different voices, 1 attempted message.

    Lorna Slater came across well, I thought.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.