674 operations cancelled at NHS Highland
A TOTAL of 674 operations were cancelled at NHS Highland in 2016, new figures have revealed.
Highlands and Islands MSP Dave Stewart ( Labour) said the problem was that hospitals could not cope with the increased demand under current financial pressures.
NHS Highland and Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership ( HSCP) has been asked to make savings across the board, cutting to its budget by up to £ 22 million over the next five years.
NHS Highland and the HSCP have also admitted difficulties in recruiting staff to the area as a major concern. Analysis from Scottish Labour found 7,740 operations were cancelled across Scotland in 2016 because of a lack of capacity, equipment or staff to carry them out – an average of 21 per day.
Mr Stewart said: ‘ The figures back up NHS staff concerns about growing pressures and the long-term solution is to invest in social care to take pressure off hospital resources.’
He continued: ‘ The SNP-Green budget is set to cut a further £170 million from local hospital budgets in the coming year, taking the total to £1.5 billion of cuts since 2011.
‘ Every day NHS staff tell us that they are under pressure and under-resourced.
‘ Now that we see that 674 planned operations were cancelled last year, we know it was because hospitals across NHS Highland did not have the capacity to cope. A decade of SNP mismanagement of our NHS means patients are being let down because hospitals are not getting the support they need.
‘ NHS staff are performing as best they can under difficult circumstances, but the lack of support makes their job even harder. It’s no wonder only one-third of NHS staff think they have enough colleagues to do their job properly.
‘ The way to take the pressure off of our hospitals is to properly invest in social care. Instead, the SNP- Green budget means more local government cuts on top of the £1.5 billion slashed by the SNP since 2011.’
A spokesman for NHS Highland said: ‘ The decision to cancel a patient is not one that we take lightly and all efforts are made to ensure that any cancellations are kept to a minimum.
‘Any patients who have been cancelled are prioritised and rebooked as quickly as possible.’