Nearly a quarter of a million operations 'lost' because of coronavirus
Nearly a quarter of a million operations in Scotland’s hospitals have been delayed because of the coronavirus, the Scottish Lib Dems have claimed.
According to their analysis of Public Health Scotland statistics, a staggering 220,653 scheduled operations were lost during the course of the pandemic.
The party compared the average number of scheduled elective operations in theatre that have taken place in previous years to the number carried out between March 2020 to May 2021.
Looking at a 15 month period between March and May for every year between 2016 and 2019, the average number of operations carried was 430,894 operations.
However, with the NHS in the grip of the pandemic between March 2020 and May 2021, just 210,241 operations went ahead as scheduled.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:“During the election, the SNP promised an NHS recovery plan and 10 per cent more capacity, but the mountain of cancelled operations show it was all just words.
“Scotland’s NHS doesn’t just have a pandemic emergency but also an emergency for our health.
“These figures show the number of planned procedures that didn’t happen during the pandemic. Most of those will still need to happen, in one way or another, and that will be a huge challenge. Many who have had operations delayed will be living in pain and discomfort. But the work to see their problems fixed will now need to happen alongside the rest of the NHS’ day to day workload.
“Staff are shattered. The weight of work required to get Scotland’s health back on track is formidable. The Scottish Government need to give staff the space and the resources to get the health service back on track, without staff sacrificing their own health and wellbeing. A Patients’ Commissioner would also ensure that those who are suffering are advocated for.”
Responding to the LibDem claims, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Despite the challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, our NHS still managed to carry out over 600 operations on average per day in May 2021.
“As our NHS responded to a growing number of hospital admissions alongside urgent and emergency care during the early part of 2021, the capacity to undertake planned procedures naturally reduced. Pausing non-urgent activity and the phased reintroduction of services has inevitably led to planned operations being cancelled.
“We are working with Health Boards to remobilise our NHS safely, ensuring decision making is clinically led and evidence-based. As part of this we will publish an NHS Recovery Plan within 100 days of this new term of Government, setting out our aim to not only restore activity to previous levels, but, crucially, to exceed them.”