An increase in same-day surgery and a subsequent reduction in overnight stays could save Scottish health boards up to GBP 8 million a year, according to a report.
Audit Scotland looked at procedures such as hernia repair, cataract removal and circumcision performed by all health boards 10 years on from its last review.
The report found that since the early 1990s the NHS has made steady progress in carrying out more surgical procedures as day operations.
The report said: “If the Scottish target of 75% of surgical procedures being carried out as same-day procedures was achieved, we estimate that over 34,000 extra same-day procedures would be carried out, freeing up around GBP 8m per year.”
Auditor general Robert Black said: “It’s long been recognised that day surgery benefits patients through promoting a speedy recovery and minimising the disruption that an overnight stay in hospital can have on people’s lives.
“It also promotes a more efficient use of NHS resources by reducing waiting times and freeing up hospital beds.”
Audit Scotland added that there was “considerable” variation among NHS boards in the percentage of operations carried out as day surgery. This was not explained by differences in location or patients’ circumstances.
There was also wide variation within individual boards in their day surgery performance for different types of operations.
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