Cancelled Planned Operations

The data presented includes number of planned operations, number of cancelled operations, and the reason for cancellation by NHS Board and Hospital.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Source NHS Board aggregate submissions to PHS
Author PHS Waiting Times Team
Version 1.0
Last Updated April 2, 2024, 09:30 (BST)
Created April 2, 2019, 11:20 (BST)
Contact Address PHS Waiting Times Team, Public Health Scotland, Gyle Square, 1 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9EB
Subject Waiting Times
Frequency Monthly
Time frame of data and timeliness First Tuesday of following month as of 01 September 2015.
Coverage The data covers all NHS hospitals across Scotland.
Completeness The statistics in this release cover hospitals in Scotland where planned operations take place in theatres. The data do not contain information on procedures which take place in other clinical settings e.g. outpatient departments. For details of all operations carried out please see the Acute Activity publication. Following a review of data processes, an error has been identified at NHS Orkney which means historic statistics for this Board prior to July are likely to be undercounting the true number of cancellations. PHS are collaborating with the NHS Orkney to resolve this issue.
Accuracy These aggregate statistics are subject to only basic quality assurance checks by PHS. NHS boards are required to confirm to PHS that the statistics are accurate.
Continuity of data Monthly data from May 2015.
Concepts and definitions Data are provided from NHS boards’ Theatre Systems and will include patients who are cancelled the day before, or on the day of their elective operation. This includes urgent procedures and patients who may have their elective (planned) operation cancelled more than once during their stay. Cancellation based on clinical reason by hospital i.e. the clinical reason pertaining to the patient, includes: • Patient unwell e.g. high blood pressure, INR results not satisfactory, has a cold • Patient not prepared for procedure correctly by hospital, patient did not follow pre op instructions Cancellation based on capacity or non-clinical reason by hospital includes: • No beds available, general ward, ICU, HDU • Staff not available, staff are ill, not available due to an emergency operation taking clinical priority • Equipment not available, equipment dirty • Theatre session overran therefore patient cancelled Cancellation by patient includes: • Patient decides not to go ahead with procedure • Unable to attend • Did not attend • Patient did not attend pre-op Other includes: • Fire alarm prevents operation from taking place • Weather prevented patient / staff travelling • Patient transport did not arrive in time to bring patient to hospital Relevance and key uses of the statistics
Disclosure The PHS protocol on Statistical Disclosure Protocol is followed.
Revision statement These figures are official statistics intended to provide timely information from aggregate weekly returns and it is envisaged that revisions will not be made.
Official statistics designation Official Statistics
Relevance and key uses of the statistics The waiting time for a planned operation is important to patients. If the NHS is cancelling operations this is a measure of how the NHS is responding to demands for services. Measuring and regular reporting of cancelled operations highlights where there are delays in the system and enables monitoring of the effectiveness of NHS performance throughout the country.
Format CSV
Language English

NHS England publish information on cancelled procedures. The published statistics are not comparable due to definitional differences.

NHS Performs

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