NHS Lothian: More than 300 chlldren's operations cancelled over past five years, latest figures show
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More than 300 children’s operations have been cancelled in Lothian since 2019, according to figures disclosed under Freedom of Infortmation.
Scottish Liberal Democrats asked health boards across the country for the number of operations for under-18s cancelled in each of the last five years. The total for Scotland as a whole was more than 8,000 between January 2019 and April 2023.
In Lothian, a total of 333 children had their operations cancelled during that time, though the number reduced over time. In 2019, there were 103 cancellations of children’s operations, which reduced to 71 in 2020 and fell again to 49 in 2021 before increasing to 88 in 2022 with a figure of 22 up to April this year.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "The shocking scale of cancelled children's operations is a badge of shame for this nationalist government. Behind these figures are countless children and parents having to wait in pain and distress. Some of these operations will have been cancelled for good reasons but many more will be because the staff and equipment to perform them simply isn't there."
He added: "Years of neglect by this Government have led to chronic staff shortages with communities across the country paying the price. How can Humza Yousaf look parents and patients in the eye? Humza Yousaf's NHS recovery plan has completely failed. We need a new plan which puts the experience and knowledge of NHS staff at the heart of it to bring local health services back from the brink."
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The significant impact of Covid-19 since 2019 on the normal operation of the NHS cannot be underestimated. Some operations are cancelled for clinical reasons or because the patient cannot attend, and we have made it clear to boards that patients with the greatest clinical need, should not have their operations cancelled.
"Where cancellations do take place, the large majority are routine procedures, although we recognise the impact this has on the patient involved. We continue to work closely with health boards to ensure patients that have had their operations cancelled are seen as quickly as possible."