Note: This graph is drawn, looking only at cancellations, ignoring more than 90% of operations and so, exaggerates the peaks and troughs. Look at how tightly packed the two scales are to enable changes of only 0.5% to be visible. If the left-hand scale had to include 0 to 100% and/or if the bottom scale had to only cover say, one year, these peaks and troughs would be stretched out and visually flattened so that much that you might look at them and think that the same data suggests only very minor changes.
Here’s what Reporting Scotland had to say:
‘Almost 3 000 planned operations were cancelled last November according to new health figures. That’s a rise of 6.8% compared to the same period in 2017/18. More than a third of the call-offs were made for non-clinical reasons.’
- Note that almost two-thirds (996) of the 2 907 (‘almost 3 000’) operations were cancelled by patients themselves or by doctors because, in the latter case, they were no longer considered a good idea for the health of the patient.
- Note the rounding-up to get the headline ‘3 000’ figure and the potential confusion when we see that 996 is ‘less than a third’ of the headline figure
- Note the use of ‘more than a third’ despite the tiny statistical difference between 3.4% (‘more than’) and 3.333% (‘one third’).