New figures for NHS Borders show the number of scheduled elective surgeries continue to recover from an April low, but remain well below last year’s figures.
Many surgeries and procedures have been postponed since the introduction of coronavirus measures in March, which is leading to a backlog of procedures.
In August 2020, 77 elective operations were scheduled. This is down from 387 a year earlier, suggesting that less than 20% of elective operations are taking place.
However, in April 2020, only 40 operations were planned, which was less than 10% of the number from a year earlier, suggesting there has been improvement in recent months.
NHS Borders said that there would be a careful and gradual resumption of non-urgent and non-cancer surgical procedures from the end of August 2020. However, their website states that ‘managing the backlog of patients, both from before the pandemic and also as a result of delays over the last four months will be challenging, and we understand that this may cause some frustration’.
Borders MP, John Lamont, says that this helps show the full scale of problems caused by coronavirus for the NHS, and that the Scottish Government needs to get a plan in place to help health boards clear the backlog.
John Lamont MP said: “It was the right decision to wind down elective surgeries when coronavirus struck. This stopped patients being put at risk unnecessarily and allowed hard working NHS staff to fully focus on suppressing the virus and treating those with Covid-19.
“However, there is an inevitable backlog now, and this will mean delays for patients. There is understandable frustration from local residents who are worried about delays to their surgery.
“I know that NHS Borders are working hard to clear the backlog, but new measures in place such as extra PPE and other infection control measures will mean they cannot get back to full speed.
“We need to see the Scottish Government providing financial support for health boards to deal with the backlog and allow Borderers to receive the treatment they need.”