The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Pre-planning and organisation are the key to ensuring that operations cancelled for non-medical reasons are kept to a minimum.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital chief executive Dorothy Hosein said staff were ‘constantly juggling’ bed space and day surgery.

There are also three bed planning meetings every day and last year five operations were cancelled between one and three days before admission.

It had cancelled 309 operations on the day over the year.

Figures revealed yesterday show thousands of cancelled operations across the country are not included in official statistics because they are not on the day.

Hospitals are required to record cancellations on the day of an operation or admission, but not those prior to that.

Last year there were 71,370 last-minute cancellations across the country either on the day the patient was due to arrive, after they had arrived or on the day the procedure should take place.

The main reasons for last-minute cancellations were a lack of beds, ward space and staff shortages.

“The planning a patient does to get to this hospital is quite significant, mentally as well as around their lifestyle,” said Mrs Hosein.

The QEH had one of the lowest numbers of NHS Trusts which responded to a Freedom of Information request by the BBC to reveal the statistics.

Of the 74 trusts which gave data, 41,474 operations had been cancelled between one and three days while 71,370 were cancelled on the day. The NHS carried out 7.7 million planned operations.