East Lancashire hospitals to delay operations
It comes as hospitals in England were told to delay pre planned operations and routine out patient appointments until the end of the month due to severe winter pressures.
In a drastic step to try and free up hospital staff and beds, NHS England also said the deferral of non urgent in patient elective care, such as hip replacements, should be extended until January 31.
Officials have estimated this could lead to up to 55,000 deferred operations, although cancer operations and time critical procedures should go ahead as planned, NHS England said.
Tony McDonald, deputy director of operations at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT), said the trust had been preparing the service in the run up to winter and have been managing to maintain ‘reasonable patient flow’ through their hospitals.
He said: “As with the majority of other hospitals nationwide, ELHT’s Emergency Care Department has been experiencing a surge in demand over the Christmas and New Year period.
“East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has spent a number of weeks preparing our services in the run up to winter. Working together with our partners across the whole health economy, we are managing to maintain reasonable patient flow through our hospitals.
“In line with NHS England and NHS Improvement’s guidance we are implementing an ‘elective pacing’ programme. This means we are prioritising clinically urgent cases which will go ahead, but some non urgent surgery will be postponed.
“Patients will be notified if their procedure is affected and we therefore ask them to attend their appointments unless advised otherwise.
“We recognise that there will be upset and inconvenience caused to patients and their families, and we really appreciate their patience and understanding during this difficult time.
“We also thank members of the public for their continued support and continue to request they only attend A if absolutely necessary. Patients should think about visiting their local pharmacy, GP or calling 111 before attending A or one of our Urgent Care Centres.”