1. ITV Report

Number of urgent operations cancelled in English hospitals reaches record levels

Surgeons carry out an operation at an NHS hospital. Credit: PA Wire

The number of urgent operations cancelled in hospitals in England has reached record levels, official figures show.

Data from NHS England reveal that 446 urgent operations were cancelled in November - the highest recorded since the information was first collected in August 2010.

The November figure compares with 357 for the previous month, and is almost 200 higher than in the same month in 2015.

Liberal Democrat former health minister Norman Lamb warned that the NHS was being "being stretched to breaking point" and called on Chancellor Philip Hammond to increase funding for the service.

"This is a damning indictment of this government's failure to properly fund the NHS," Mr Lamb said.

"Now patients are paying the price for the Government's short-sightedness, with record levels of cancelled operations and hospitals being stretched to breaking point."

He added "Waiting for an operation is stressful enough even when everything goes smoothly, to be told that your operation has been delayed heaps even more strain on patients."

Simon Enright, director of communications at NHS England, said on Twitter: "It is true that the NHS is very busy at the moment – record demand."