Nearly 80,000 NHS operations were cancelled last year amid staff shortages and equipment failures, figures show.
The data, obtained by Labour through Freedom of Information requests, reveals a total of 78,981 operations were cancelled. These operations were either classed as urgent or were elective operations cancelled at the last minute.
The figure is down from 81,565 in 2017/18 but up from 74,170 in 2016/17.
The number of operations cancelled because of staffing issues and equipment failures have each increased by a third in two years. Last year, 10,900 were cancelled because of staffing issues and 4,800 were cancelled because of equipment failures – up from 8,231 and 3,739, respectively, in 2017/18.
There are currently over 100,000 staff vacancies in the NHS, with shortages of 10,000 doctors and 43,000 nurses.
Cuts to NHS capital budgets have left the health service with a £6.5bn repair bill, figures suggest.
Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s shadow health and social care secretary, said: “That so many more people in pain and distress are forced to endure cancelled operations, including increasingly on the day they were supposed to have treatment, is a shameful indictment of a decade of Tory cutbacks running our NHS into the ground.”