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.

Main points

  • The total number of planned operations across NHSScotland during August 2022 was 23,626. This represents an increase of 20% from 19,685 in July 2022 and is 15.1% higher than the number planned in August 2021 (20,531). When compared to August 2019, prior to the pandemic, there were 15.7% fewer operations planned, down from 28,036.
Image caption Total planned operations and percentage of cancelled planned operations, by reason, up to August 2022
  • During August 2022, 10.2% of all planned operations were cancelled the day before or on the day the patient was due to be treated. This compares to 9.4% reported in the previous month and remains higher than pre-pandemic levels, reporting 8.4% in August 2019. Across NHS Boards, this percentage ranged from 2.4% to 16.4% during the latest month.
  • Of all cancelled planned operations during August 2022, 691 (2.9%) were cancelled by the hospital based on clinical reasons, 890 (3.8%) were cancelled by the hospital due to capacity or non-clinical reasons, 708 (3%) were cancelled by the patient and 119 (0.5%) were cancelled due to other reasons. The rate of cancellations by the hospital due to capacity or non-clinical reasons is the highest since the onset of the pandemic and is higher than 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 1 November 2022.

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.

Media enquiries

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

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

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: 07 October 2022
Was this page helpful?