Ayrshire’s NHS performed over 7,500 fewer operations in six months compared to last year, according to new figures.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran has had to cancel operations because COVID-19 patients need the beds. Figures showed that in the last six months between April and September, only 3,115 operations took place in Ayrshire.

This compares to an average of 10,688 operations that took place over the same months between 2016-19, meaning a potential 7,573 were not carried out.

Surgical beds in Ayrshire hospitals have been repurposed for patients infected with the virus.

Extra capacity has also been created in newly opened areas as well as the health board’s infectious disease ward.

Part of the Day Surgery Unit has been repurposed to ‘enhance’ the board’s critical care capacity.

The health board had also stopped serial testing of over 70s inpatients, based on guidance provided by the Chief Nursing Officer.

Joanne Edwards, Director of Acute Services, said this week: “We are reviewing our operating schedule for the next few weeks in order to ensure that the high clinical priority operations continue.”