NHS Fife cancelling operations at the last minute is “not acceptable”, said a local MSP.
The “terrible situation” where eight elective operations were called off on one day, coupled with ongoing concerns over healthcare, has prompted MSPs Cara Hilton and Alex Rowley to call for an inquiry into the health board.
One patient was prepped and ready to go to theatre but was told more than three hours later the operation was not going ahead.
Mr Rowley raised the issue with interim chief executive Dr Brian Montgomery, who said the procedures had been cancelled as there had been a high demand for acute medical admissions with a number of patients waiting for beds.
“Today’s circumstances were exceptional, although there have been a small number of cancellations in similar circumstances previously,” he admitted.
He said the board was aware of the inconvenience and distress short-notice cancellations cause.
Dr Montgomery added: “In common with other health boards across Scotland, NHS Fife is currently experiencing a period of high demand.”
Mr Rowley called on Health Secretary Shona Robison to carry out a full inquiry.
On Monday, Ms Robison announced an additional funding package with money to tackle bed blocking.
But Mr Rowley said: “It’s all well and good putting in extra money, but we need a review of the problems.
“NHS Fife just bounces from crisis to crisis to crisis. Put in money, but get to the bottom of what’s going on because it is unacceptable.”
Mrs Hilton agreed, saying she was hearing from an increasing number of constituents worried about the impact the “real pressure” the NHS was under.
She said it was clear the “dedicated and hardworking” staff were simply being stretched too far.
“We need a review of local services based on the very real experiences of staff and patients to ensure our NHS can continue to deliver the best possible care for patients,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party in Scotland is calling on health boards to share their weekly performance statistics when they submit their monthly returns to the Scottish Government.
The party’s health spokeswoman, Jenny Marra, said: “The SNP keep reannouncing previous investments to try to distract people from the crisis in our A&E wards and the shocking fact that some pregnant women in the Highlands face a two-hour journey to give birth.
“The experts at the BMA didn’t trust the official reporting.
“When they did their own research they concluded our NHS could fall apart due to staffing shortages.
“We need to move to weekly reporting to get the real story about the pressures our hospitals are under.
“Health boards should be able to share the information they collect on the performance of our hospitals on a weekly basis.
“It isn’t right that David Cameron is four times as transparent on the NHS as Nicola Sturgeon.”