Labour blasts Tories over cancelled NHS operations in latest health service election warning

Posted On: 
3rd November 2019

Labour has blasted the rising number of cancelled operations as a “shameful indictment” of the Tory government as it continued its bid to put the NHS at the centre of the election campaign.

Nearly 80,000 urgent operations were cancelled in 2018/19 due to non-clinical reasons

According to research by the party, the number of operations cancelled due to staffing issues and equipment failures in the health service has increased by a third in two years. 

Freedom of Information figures from acute hospitals in England showed that there were 8,231 cancelled procedures due to staffing issues in 2016/17.

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However, that figure rose to 10,909 by 2018/19.

The number of cancellations due to equipment failures also rose from 3,739 to 4,858 in the same period. 

Meanwhile the number of urgent and elective operations cancelled at the last minute due to non-clinical reasons ran up to nearly 80,000 last year. 

Lack of beds, adverse weather conditions, booking errors and equipment problems were among the reasons cited.  

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth 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. 

"The simple truth is under the Tories, patients wait longer and longer for vital care. This general election is about the future of the NHS and ensuring quality care for all.

"Labour will fully fund our NHS, recruit the doctors and nurses we need and safeguard our NHS from a Trump deal sell off that could cost the NHS £500 million a week."

The findings came as Labour ramped up its election campaign with warnings about the future of the health service under a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

But Boris Johnson accused Labour of peddling "lies" to scare voters in claiming that the NHS is under threat from US corporations.

He told the Sun on Sunday: “It’s total rubbish. Total, total Loch Ness Monster.

“Actually the Loch Ness Monster has got more ­credibility than some rubbish Labour has been spouting.

“The NHS is absolutely central to our project. An NHS free at the point of use is one of the great glories of British society and we’re going to protect and invest in it.”

The Government has pledged 40 hospital upgrades in the next ten years, with money so far fully announced for six of them.