New figures have revealed that more than 5,000 surgical errors occurred during operations carried out in Scottish hospitals over the past five years.

The figures were obtained by Liberal Democrat health spokesman Ross Finnie through parliamentary answers in the Scottish Parliament.

There were more than 3,000 cases where patients had organs accidentally cut or punctured during surgery. There were also incidents of “foreign bodies” being left in patients during surgery and failure of sterile precautions.

Of the 3,106 cases where organs were accidentally cut or punctured, the highest total was in Lothian with 703 cases.

Mr Finnie said: “Patients going into hospital for surgery have enough to think about without worrying about serious surgical mistakes like this.”

The figures from health secretary Nicola Sturgeon included cases in Scotland from 2004 to 2008 where surgical error could be “inferred” using available information.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said 1.2 million surgical procedures were carried out in 2008. She added that the Scottish patient safety programme is being implemented across NHS boards to improve the safety of care.