About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides a monthly update on the number of operations in NHSScotland that were cancelled the day before or the day of treatment. Note that due to technical issues, NHS Lothian have been unable to provide data for October 2022. These data have been excluded from NHSScotland totals.

Main points

  • The total number of planned operations across NHSScotland (excl. NHS Lothian) during October 2022 was 18,894. This represents a decrease of 1.7% from 19,228 in September 2022 and is 36.6% higher than the number planned in October 2021 (13,832). When compared to October 2019, prior to the pandemic, there were 25.6% fewer operations planned, down from 23,724.
Image caption Total planned operations and percentage of cancelled planned operations, by reason, up to October 2022
  • During October 2022, 8.8% of all planned operations were cancelled the day before or on the day the patient was due to be treated for NHSScotland (excl. NHS Lothian). This has not changed from the previous month and remains slightly higher than pre-pandemic levels (8.4% in October 2019). Across NHS Boards, this percentage ranged from 6.0% to 16.9%.
  • Of all cancelled planned operations during October 2022, for NHSScotland (excl. NHS Lothian) 585 (3.1%) were cancelled by the hospital based on clinical reasons, 485 (2.6%) were cancelled by the hospital due to capacity or non-clinical reasons, 551 (2.9%) were cancelled by the patient, and 50 (0.3%) were cancelled due to other reasons. The rate of planned operations cancelled by the patient has been on an upward trend since March 2021 and has reached pre-pandemic levels.


These statistics are released monthly. Data for this publication are submitted from NHS Board theatre systems. Further information on the reasons for cancellation can be found on the Cancelled Planned Operations section of our website.

These statistics continue to be affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. On 30 April 2022, NHSScotland was stood down from emergency footing, however COVID-19 is still affecting provision and availability of services with waves of infection resulting in reduced capacity, for example due to increased staff absence and higher demand from emergency departments and inpatient wards. During these periods there is often a requirement to prioritise and treat only those patients with the most urgent clinical needs.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 10 January 2023.

NHS Performs

A selection of information from this publication is included in NHS Performs. NHS Performs is a website that brings together a range of information on how hospitals and NHS Boards within NHSScotland are performing.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact phs.waitingtimes@phs.scot.

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If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 30 November 2022
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