THE number of last-minute cancelled surgeries at Furness General Hospital and across the Morecambe Bay area has increased, according to new figures.

The figures from NHS England have shown an upturn in cancelled surgeries and procedure across the country

Figures show that a total of 124 non-urgent operations, such as hip or knee procedures, were cancelled by the trust at short notice in the three months to September.

This was an increase of 10 per cent from the same period in 2017, when there were 113 operations or procedures cancelled.

The data covers cancellations for to non-clinical reasons, such as bed or staff shortages.

The Royal College of Surgeons has blamed pressure on the over-stretched NHS for the increasing number of cancellations in England.

It also warned the figures could be masking the true scale of the problem, as they do not include operations cancelled at more than 24 hours’ notice.

A last-minute cancellation is defined as being either on the day that a patient was due to arrive, after the patient has arrived, or on the day of the operation itself.

Cllr Michael Cassells, spokesman for health and wellbeing, said: “I am concerned about how this will impact on local residents, but I am also aware of the pressures the Trust is under from central funding.

“I will be looking at ways that the council can support the Trust in whatever capacity and help raise awareness around this issue.”

Professor Cliff Shearman, vice president of the RCS, said: “Having an operation that has been planned for months cancelled at short notice can be very stressful for patients and their families.

“Alongside practical considerations such as wasted time off work and rescheduling the surgery, patients will have to deal with the mental anguish of preparing for surgery all over again.

“They will also have to endure waiting longer in pain and discomfort, possibly unable to work or complete day-to-day tasks for themselves. In some cases, their condition may worsen.”

An NHS England spokesman said: “Only a small minority of operations are cancelled on the day, while 15,000 fewer people now wait a year for their operation compared with 2010.

“New guidance issued to trusts recently will see local health service leaders allocate extra funding to community services, like district nursing teams and outreach clinics, to help them care for more patients, freeing up hospital beds and staff to reduce surgery waiting lists.”

The Mail approached the UMBHT for comment on the figures, but none was provided at the time of going to press.