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'Eye-watering' number of operations in Scotland cancelled

Nearly 100,000 operations have been cancelled since 2016. Photo: PA

An “eye-watering” number of operations have been cancelled across Scotland’s NHS since 2016.

Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said a total of 97,322 elective procedures had to be rescheduled in the three years since 2016 – equivalent to 89 per day.

Some of the cancellations were unavoidable, but critics of the SNP government said the sheer number of cancellations was proof the party was not “up to the task of running Scotland’s NHS.”

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The statistics were published following a parliamentary question from Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs.

He said: “The fact nearly 100,000 operations have been scrapped since the SNP decided to record these statistics is eye-watering.

“This will have created massive heartache and inconvenience for thousands of patients and their families.

Miles Briggs said staff were "overstretched" because of "shambolic" workforce planning. Credit: PA

“It’s more proof that the SNP government simply isn’t up to the task of running Scotland’s NHS.”

The government started to formally record the incidents in May 2015 and following a drop from 34,581 in 2016 to 30,731 in 2017, the number rose to 32,010 last year.

He said staff and resources were “completely overstretched” due to “shambolic” workforce planning.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the decision to cancel a operation "is never taken lightly". Credit: PA

In her answer to the parliamentary question, Ms Freeman said: “The decision to cancel an operation is never taken lightly and we continue to work closely with health boards to ensure cancellations are kept to a minimum and that procedures for cancer patients are not postponed.

“Where operations are cancelled, they will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.

“Our waiting times improvement plan, backed with more than £850 million of funding, will help increase capacity and efficiency, and introduce new models of care which will help us to further reduce the number of cancellations.”