30,000 operations were postponed by NHS trusts in the UK in the past year due to a lack of staff.
One in five surgeries that were cancelled in 2021–2022 for non–clinical reasons were due to staff shortages, which were the most common cause.
Around 158,000 operations were stopped for non-clinical reasons, according to data obtained by Labour under freedom of information legislation.
Out of those, around 10,000 were critical surgeries, 2,500 were for cancer patients, and 8,000 were for young patients.
Labour’s analysis found 13,000 operations were postponed because of a shortage of beds, 5,700 owing to a lack of equipment and 12,600 because of administrative mistakes.
15,500 were moved as theatre lists overran, 9,500 because an emergency case took precedence and 250 were cancelled due to bad weather.
Labour said the number of cancelled operations has massively risen since 2018/2019 when 79,000 were cancelled.
The number of operations cancelled owed to staff shortages tripled in that period, jumping from 10,900 to 30,000.
Staff openings in the NHS are at a record high, NHS Digital data shows.
The vacancy rate across the NHS in England – the number of vacancies as a proportion of planned staffing levels – stood at 9.7 percent at the end of September.
More than 133,000 full-time employees (FTE) posts are vacant.
In the interim, an average of 54,581 NHS staff were off sick in England in the seven days to 4 December.
Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: “Patients are forced to wait longer for vital operations because the Conservatives have failed to train enough staff over the past 12 years.
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“Having operations cancelled causes huge disruption to patients, and prevents them from being able to get on with their lives.”
He said Labour would “tackle this problem at its root”.
“We will train a new generation of doctors and nurses so patients get the treatment they need when they need it.
“We will abolish non-doms to pay for it because patients need treatment more than the wealthiest need a tax break, and if you live and work in Britain you should pay your taxes here.”
Source: Sky News