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Almost 80,000 NHS operations were cancelled last year

Data shows steep rise in ops cancelled due to equipment failures

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.”