An increasing number of operations are being cancelled in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) trusts despite an overall improvement in standards of care, according to latest figures.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) analysed the 392 NHS trusts in England and found that 63,000 operations were cancelled during 2008–09 for non-clinical reasons, compared to 57,000 in the previous year.

Only 15% of NHS trusts were rated as “excellent” compared to last year’s 26%, and only 37% of acute trusts met the required level of performance on specialist stroke care, the CQC said.

However, there were reductions in patient waiting times and hospital-acquired infections, the CQC said.