THE public will be told how many routine operations have been cancelled due to pressure facing the NHS as part of reforms that ministers claim will make the health service in Scotland among the most transparent in the world.


A new website will also see waiting times in the country's accident and emergency departments reported on a weekly basis for the first time, alongside a raft of other data.

From next month quarterly death rates, wards closed by norovirus and cases of healthcare associated infections broken down by hospital will go online, alongside A&E figures. Details of cancelled operations, staffing levels and how busy hospitals are will then be added in the months ahead, Health Secretary Shona Robison confirmed.

The decision to publish details of the number of elective operations cancelled due to capacity issues within the NHS came on the same day that The Herald revealed that more than 800 procedures had been delayed already this year after increased demand over winter left the health service desperately short of beds.

It also follows repeated calls from Labour to publish A&E statistics on a weekly basis, which already happens in England. Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats were lining up to force a vote in Holyrood on the issue this week.

Ms Robison said she was keen to ensure the NHS in Scotland was not only the most transparent health service in the UK, but also in "Europe and beyond".

She added: "This will enable people in an easy format to see the performance of the NHS as soon as possible. The is not something for statisticians to wade through, it's going to be designed with the public in mind so they can see how their hospital is doing. It will start on March 3rd, but we'll no doubt be adding information to it. We have a good story to be told."

Currently, data on accident and emergency department performance is published monthly and until recently, it was only made available every three months. Statistics will detail how many patients waited longer than a four hour target to be admitted to hospital, discharged or transferred, with figures also available for how many waited more than eight and 12 hours.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had announced earlier this month that ministers were considering publishing A&E waiting times statistics weekly in response to what Labour has branded a "crisis" in hospitals this winter.

The Scottish Government's chief statistician Roger Halliday, said: "We regularly review the content and frequency of our statistical publications to ensure they continue to meet the needs of users. There is a clear desire for more frequent, validated A&E performance information to be published and we have listened to these views."

Scottish Labour's health spokeswoman Jenny Marra claimed victory for her party over the issue, saying publication of the data would ensure the pressure NHS staff are under would be better understood.

"This U-turn from the SNP on A&E reporting has been a long time coming," she added. "Just this month Shona Robison was totally opposed to ending the secrecy in our NHS. The crisis in Scotland's A&E departments has meant the SNP could no longer hide from the truth which is they are letting our NHS down."

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jim Murphy is facing calls to issue an apology to NHS staff and patients, after he was accused of "fiddling figures" over cancelled operations.

Mr Murphy had said that the proportion of cancellations was far higher in Glasgow than in England, but deleted a series of posts on social media and a YouTube video in which he made the claim after the SNP pointed out that the Scottish figures included patients whose operations had been delayed for medical reasons, making the comparison unfair.

Ms Robison said: "He must now return to the Glasgow Royal and post a similar video - this time apologising to staff and patients."