Almost 50,000 operations have been cancelled due to a lack of capacity or for non-clinical reasons in the past eight years, new figures have revealed.
Since May 2015, there have been 47,919 occasions where an operation has been cancelled through no fault or choice of the patient.
And with 5,184 of those cancellations happening in the first 10 months of this year, the total eight-year figure is set to eclipse 50,000.
Public Health Scotland recently published the number of cancellations which have occurred since May 2015.
Operations can be cancelled for a number of reasons, including by the patient or by medical staff for clinical reasons.
But cancellations “based on capacity or non-clinical reason” point to staff and resource issues within hospitals and health boards.
Pro-UK campaign group Scotland in Union said the figures revealed another SNP failing on health.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:
“People understand that in an organisation the size of the NHS operations will be cancelled from time to time.
“But the scale of these cancellations for reasons of capacity or other non-clinical matters is extremely worrying and points to deep-rooted problems that have unravelled on the SNP’s watch.
“By the end of this year we could be looking at 50,000 cancelled operations since 2015 for reasons totally outwith patient control.
“Among these cases will be thousands of serious cases where people’s lives and quality of life are being put in considerable jeopardy.
“The SNP has been in sole charge of the health service in Scotland for more than 15 years.
“It must take full and frank responsibility for this issue, and urgently set out what it intends to do for things to improve.”
The figures were revealed in a Public Health Scotland report on cancelled operations.
The relevant Excel file can be seen in the first tab of the “cancellations data” link, and shows the following number of occasions where there has been a “cancellation based on capacity or non-clinical reason”.
2022 (to October) – 5,184
2021 – 4,475
2020 – 4,349
2019 – 6,802
2018 – 8,257
2017 – 6,874
2016 – 7,740
2015 – 4,238
Total – 47,919