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Welcome for rise in operations in March despite severe weather and travel disruption.
Health Secretary Shona Robison today praised the ‘tremendous’ efforts of the NHS as figures show the number of operations in the NHS in March rose despite the severe weather.
March saw unseasonably cold weather, with Scotland’s first ever red weather alert across large parts of the country and the army providing assistance to get staff and patients to and from some hospitals through severe snow.
25,399 operations took place in March 2018 compared to 23,664 in February 2018, a rise of 7.3%. This is despite evidence from some NHS Boards that the weather accounted for the majority of cancellations for capacity or non-clinical reasons:
- In NHS Lothian, 281 of the 417 cancellations for capacity or non-clinical reasons were due to the weather
- In NHS Fife, 60 of the 91 cancellations for capacity or non-clinical reasons were due to the weather
- In NHS Highland 36 of the 68 cancellations for capacity or non-clinical reasons were due to the weather
- In NHS Borders, 28 of the 78 cancellations for capacity or non-clinical reasons or for other reasons were due to the weather.
Shona Robison said:
“Despite a challenging winter for the NHS and severe weather in early March, our winter contingency planning with health boards saw more operations take place in March than February, up 7.3% to 25,399. The efforts of health and social care staff were tremendous and I am extremely grateful for their ongoing commitment to deliver exemplary care.
“Severe weather and warnings not to travel did mean many staff could not get to hospital, and this level of disruption takes hospitals time to recover from. Despite that, on average 820 operations a day took place and feedback from Boards has shown that the clear majority of cancellations for capacity or non-clinical reasons in March was due to the adverse weather.
“We have always made clear to boards that patients with the greatest clinical need, such as cancer patients, should not have their operations cancelled.”