5 May 2020

The scale of cancelled operations revealed today raises serious concerns about the long term impact coronavirus will have on the health and wellbeing of patients in Scotland, Scottish Labour has said.

Statistics published today have revealed that 3,019 operations were cancelled in March 2020, 15 per cent of all the elective operations that were scheduled.

Four health boards cancelled over a fifth of all planned operations in March 2020. There were also 31.9 per cent less operations scheduled during the month of March compared to the year before.

On 17 March, the Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced that the NHS would be placed on an emergency footing in response to the coronavirus pandemic and that all non-urgent services, including elective operations, would be suspended.

Experts have repeatedly warned of the possibility that the pause to regular NHS services threatens the wellbeing of patients and there have been concerns that people could be missing out on the medical care they need.

Highlighting the drastic rise in so-called “excess deaths”, and the falling numbers of Covid-19 cases in ICU, Scottish Labour has called for Ministers to outline plans for how vital NHS services could start to be restored.

Commenting, Scottish Labour Health Spokesperson Monica Lennon MSP said:

“During this time of crisis the NHS has had to make changes, just like the rest of society, to stop the system becoming overwhelmed.

“However, the pause on usual services cannot go on indefinitely – and experts have made clear their concern that delaying treatment for longer than necessary could be costing lives.

“That’s why the Scottish Government should produce a recovery plan to get the NHS back on its feet.”

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