Despite massive increase, NHS Scotland was ready to perform 98% of operations on time

Scottish media coverage of NHS Scotland doing well

From February 2022 to February 2023, NHS Scotland planned an increase of 13.9% in operations, from 17 539 to 18 069.

In February 2023, only 2%, 369, had to be cancelled due to lack of staff or facilities, down from 2.4%, 420, in the previous month.

98% is astonishing.



2 thoughts on “Despite massive increase, NHS Scotland was ready to perform 98% of operations on time

  1. O/T In a response today to the publication of the Hewitt Review – ‘An independent review of integrated care systems’ (in England) by Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, the statement from the President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) included this:

    Firstly on A&E waiting time measures: “The four-hour target is important but the (recently revised) TARGET OF 76% as outlined by the government and NHS England is unambitious and will do little to drive improvements in patient flow and patient care. This target MUST BE REVISED TO A MORE AMBITIOUS AND MEANINGFUL FIGURE. With transparent data and meaningful targets, we will have greater clarity and understanding of the patient journey and problems of flow and delays to care. With a renewed and improved focus on the four-hour target in conjunction WITH THE NEW 12-HOUR LENGTH OF STAY DATA MEASURED FROM THE TIME OF ARRIVAL and national priorities for holistic working, we will be working towards eliminating delays to patient care and overcrowding.” (my emphasis)

    Then responding to the announcement by the Department of Health and Social Care that promised funding for the social care workforce in England will be halved, the President of the RCEM said:

    “At a time when this essential review is published which shows how much work there is to be done in integrated care, IT IS A SHAMEFUL BETRAYAL TO LEARN THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE CUTTING MILLIONS FROM THE BUDGET PLEDGED FOR SOCIAL CARE. Quite simply you will not be able to do more with less. This will be A DEVASTATING BLOW FOR SOCIAL CARE LEADERS AND THE SOCIAL CARE WORKFORCE. The Emergency Care system hinges on an effective social care system; OVERCROWDING AND DELAYS TO EMERGENCY CARE ARE INEXTRICABLY LINKED TO INADEQUATE AND INSUFFICIENT SOCIAL CARE.”

    ( )

    The latter information on halving of funds promised by the Tory government for the social care workforce in England was covered on the BBC News website: ‘Care funding U-turn ‘is an insult to social care’. This appeared in its list of ‘updates’ but not prominently displayed on the England or UK or even the Health pages! No mention of the RCEM’s condemnation in this article and NO reference to, no quotes from, opposition parties! Surprised?

    Of course the halving of the promised budget increase for social care in England will have a knock-on, negative financial impact on the budgets of devolved governments, with this bad news coming at the very beginning of a financial year!

    And NO mention to the above broken promise was made in what was prominent today – by coincidence – on the BBC News website’s Scotland Politics section, an article entitled: ‘Social care pay gap could be ‘catastrophic’.


  2. 98% is astonishing but is not the full picture. Usually just less than 10% of planned operations are cancelled each month. Therefore around 90 to 92% go ahead as planned which is pretty good, and is usually consistent month on month

    The main reasons for cancellations are:
    Clinical – patient too I’ll
    Patient cancels – the percentage cancelling for this reason is usually close to cancellations for
    Staffing & Resources etc

    Main points for Feb 2023 from the report on cancelled operations are:
    “”During February 2023, 8.4% of all planned operations were cancelled the day before or on the day the patient was due to be treated for NHSScotland (excl. NHS Lothian). This has decreased from 9% during the previous month but remains comparable to pre-pandemic levels (8.4% in February 2020). Across NHS Boards, this percentage ranged from 4.6% in NHS Borders to 18.4% in NHS Shetland. The high rate reported by NHS Shetland was due to significant COVID prevalence amongst staff, resulting in staff shortages.
    Of all cancelled planned operations during February 2023, for NHSScotland (excl. NHS Lothian) 576 (3.2%) were cancelled by the hospital based on clinical reasons, 369 (2%) were cancelled by the hospital due to capacity or non-clinical reasons, 524 (2.9%) were cancelled by the patient, and 56 (0.3%) were cancelled due to other reasons.””


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