Cancelled operation are double DoH figures

Over 100,000 NHS operations were cancelled in 2007/8 for non-clinical reasons, statistics compiled from three-quarters of NHS trusts by the Conservative Party suggest.

Andrew Lansley
Andrew Lansley

DoH figures for England count only 57,350 for this time period, but they show only procedures cancelled at the last minute. 

The Conservatives found that 77,302 operations were cancelled in 77 per cent of trusts. This implies that there were about 105,000 across all trusts.

Figures show a third of trusts called off surgery for the same patient at least three times. As many as 7,000 patients had operations cancelled more than once.

Reasons for cancellation included 400 times when patient notes were lost, almost 11,000 bed shortages, equipment failure in nearly 4,000 cases and staffing problems in over 11,000 examples.

The Conservatives’ research was the result of requests under the Freedom Of Information Act.

Andrew Lansley, the Conservative shadow health secretary, said: ‘Having an operation cancelled can cause huge distress for patients and their families. It’s simply unacceptable that these figures are so high – and that the government is spinning the official statistics to try to hide them.’

The NHS is due to publish revised data for 2007/8 on cancelled operations in England on 29 August.

Contact Gemma McKenna at

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