Hospitals across Scotland cancelled more than 500 planned operations in a month for reasons including lack of space or staff.

A total of 2,562 (9.2 per cent) of planned procedures were called off in September, according to the latest statistics.

Of these 560 (two per cent) were cancelled by the hospital for capacity or non-clinical reasons such as beds, staff or equipment not being available or an emergency operation taking priority. The proportion is the highest since May.

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The figures also show 970 (3.5 per cent) were halted by the hospital for clinical reasons, while patients themselves cancelled 943 (3.4 per cent).

The overall cancellation rate is up 8.5 per cent from the previous month but has dipped slightly year on year.

The Liberal Democrats’ health spokesman, Alex Cole-Hamilton, said: “These new statistics show that almost 20 patients a day are having their operations cancelled through no fault of their own.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison welcomed the figures, pointing out there is a 7.4 per cent drop in the number of days patients spent in hospital due to delayed discharges.