The number of cancelled operations at Truro’s Royal Cornwall Hospital rose by more than 40 per cent last year, the latest NHS figures show.

The hospital cancelled 604 procedures between January and September last year. This was compared to 379 for the same period the previous year.

The hospital said it had seen a “significant improvement” in the last two months and was doing all it could to meet patient need.

Jo Gibbs, chief operating officer for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, said: “There can be a wide range of reasons why an operation is cancelled, but we continue to do all we can to ensure we meet patient need and when cancellations are unavoidable that we offer an alternative date as quickly as possible.

“We have seen significant improvement in the past two months and cancellations were 0.6 per cent of all planned operations. We do not want to cancel any operation as we understand the upset this can cause to patients and staff.”

The Patients Association has described the high number of cancelled elective operations as “concerning” and been quoted as saying urgent measures were needed to avoid undue delays.