NHS Scotland operation cancellations fall in November and there are no plans for increased cancellations in January but in NHS England…..


(c) Independent

The UK media is utterly dominated by reports of massive cancellations in NHS England. Under the headline:

‘NHS extends suspension of all non-urgent care as doctors warn of winter crisis’

the Independent, today, reports that officials estimate this could lead to up to 55,000 deferred operations [in January] and that one senior doctor has apologised for ‘third world conditions’ in his hospital.


On Sky News today, Jeremy C…Hunt was asked if he was ashamed. It reminds us of the accusation of a ‘humanitarian crisis’, in NHS England last year, from the Red Cross. The Scottish media is quiet though I doubt they’re content. There are no reports of NHS Scotland advising its hospitals to plan for major cancellations in January. Indeed, the most recent statistical data suggests that it has entered the winter period with an improved performance in November.

In November 2016, there were 2 871 planned operations cancelled. Should that really be ‘postponed’? In November 2017, the figure was 2 720 out of a total of 30 820, down from 9% or 2 871, to 8.8% of the total number of operations.

It’s important to note that 977 of these were cancelled by the patients themselves with only 664 or 2.2% cancelled (postponed) due to capacity or non-clinical reasons. Remember, the 55 000 figure for NHS England refers only to this type of cancellation, due to lack of capacity.


Constructing a Winter crisis in NHS Scotland is going to take some doing. Are our Unionist media up-to-it? They will try. Be ready to laugh.

10 thoughts on “NHS Scotland operation cancellations fall in November and there are no plans for increased cancellations in January but in NHS England…..

  1. Brian January 3, 2018 / 3:14 pm

    Oops, commented wrong post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alasdair Macdonald January 3, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    I suspect that the Scottish media might well report this under the generic heading of NHS, in the knowledge that a) many people do not realise that there are, in fact four NHS organisations in the UK and b) that it will subliminally be recorded as another ‘failure’ of the SG.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Alasdair Macdonald January 4, 2018 / 12:02 pm

        And sho’ ’nuff, we had Shelly Joffre putting the boot in on Reporting Scotland! Interestingly, on Radio 4’s PM with Eddie Mair, the main report was about NHS England, but it also included significant reports from Scotland and Wales (Northern Ireland, as usual, was ignored). The reporters pointed out that because of the current colds/flu outbreak there were pressures in Scotland, too. However, the report indicated that NHS Scotland appeared to be managing things better.

        On RS, we had the usual specific case, from which we were invited to draw a conclusion. This concerned a mother who was worried her son might have meningitis – an appalling fear for any parent. She had gone to her GP who hd immediately referred her son to the local hospital for a CTI scan. When they arrived she was told that because of the epidemic there were 35 waiting for such scans and that it might be worthwhile trying another hospital, if possible. Undoubtedly, a terrifying experience for the mother and her son. But, the other 34 cases were probably equally deserving of attention. Health Boards will equip and staff hospitals on the basis of the most probable peak demand, plus a we bit more. But, if there is exceptionally high demand, as there appears to be at present, then clearly waiting times will expand, possibly, with fatal consequences.

        Interviews with practitioners both in Scotland and in the rest of the UK (from other bulletins on other channels) were making this point clear.

        One of the principle foci of interviewers was target waiting times and how these were not being met. Invariably the interview would degenerate into a demand for ‘who is to blame’, as if having someone to blame would, at this time, magically, provide all of those waiting longer than 4 hours immediate help. It was a classic illustration of what the BMA had been pointing out as the tyranny of targets. Incredibly, watching Emily Maitlis interview Mr Jeremy Hunt, I actually felt some sympathy for the Minister! (I have lain down in a darkened room!!)

        On RS, Shelley Joffre conclude with how the A&E figures for the last two weeks had shown missed targets (with an aside about Lothian having ‘fiddled’ figures) and that with the past week’s data due out soon ‘we know what to expect’. As well as the winter bulge, we will have had the additional New Year problems, plus the fact that there were Rangers/Celtic and Hearts/Hibs matches, neither of which lead to peace and harmony in towns and cities across Scotland, never mind Glasgow and Edinburgh.

        We need to have a proper debate about shaping our health service and about making it more resilient and adaptable and about what we as individuals can do to reduce the pressures on acute services. But, we are not getting it from the media or from many of our politicians.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. johnrobertson834 January 4, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    Alasdair, running out of words to describe the quality of your contributions.


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