Almost 18,000 hospital operations were cancelled in Ireland in 2009, a 10% increase from the previous year, according to Fine Gael health spokesman Dr James Reilly.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) showed that 17,761 operations were cancelled in 2009, compared with 16,177 and 14,903 operations in 2008 and 2007 respectively.
According to HSE, the level of hospital activity has grown each year since 2005, which caused the increase in the number of operation cancellations.
It added that cancellations made by the hospital are due to emergency admissions and infection control, and are dependent upon availability of beds or staff.
However, Reilly said that cancelled operations has a real impact on patients, prolonging pain and delaying early detection of serious illnesses.
“This shows that cancelling operations has become engrained as a policy for managing hospital gridlock brought about by overcrowded A&E departments, a lack of acute beds for admission and the delayed discharge of patients,” he said.