Operations drop by 12,000 during lockdown

The number of operations carried out in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) dropped by more than 12,000 during lockdown, figures have revealed.

Recent statistics from ISD Scotland show between March and May this year, 4,998 scheduled elective operations took place, compared to 17,314 in the same period last year.

Now MSP Maurice Golden has called on the Scottish Government to outline plans to deal with a backlog of non-urgent operations which are outstanding following the outbreak of coronavirus.

On March 17, health boards were asked to suspend all non-urgent elective treatment as the NHS was placed under emergency measures.

Mr Golden, who represents Renfrewshire and Inverclyde as part of his West Scotland remit, said he believes, with restrictions easing, patients deserve clarity over when operations will restart.

He said: “With all non-urgent operations having been postponed since the Covid-19 pandemic, a backlog of operations was going to be necessary across Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

“As we continue to see the easing of restrictions, we must urgently see the government lay out a plan to support the health board in terms of dealing with the ever-growing backlog of operations.

“Our health boards were already working tirelessly prior to the Covid-19 pandemic to try and carry out operations, but they must be supported by the proper resources from the SNP government.

“I will be continuing to lobby for the proper resources to be given in order to allow patients to have their long-awaited operations as soon as possible.”

The Scottish Government said more up-to-date figures on elective surgery would be released on August 25.

A government spokesman said: “We asked health boards to postpone non-life threatening elective procedures to allow vital NHS staff to be redeployed to support the response to the pandemic.

“As the health service continues to gradually re-open, we will do all we can to support health boards to catch up on any outpatient and inpatient treatments that have been postponed.”

An NHSGGC spokesman said: “We re-scheduled all non-urgent elective procedures to ensure appropriate resources were in place to manage the peak of COVID-19 cases. As a result, staff redeployed from theatres helped us double critical care capacity and create additional resource to quadruple capacity if required. Redeployed staff played a central role in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

“Throughout the peak, we continued to carry out emergency and urgent procedures, including trauma and urgent cancer surgery.

“We are currently following a remobilisation plan to increase elective capacity, and as such, the numbers of elective surgeries taking place will gradually increase in a manner which allows us to meet new demand and catch up on previously scaled down or postponed activity and appropriate pathways and measures have been established to ensure the safety of staff and patients.”

Daily Record – Paisley