Routine operations are being cancelled at Stoke-on-Trent’s main hospital once again – because of rising numbers of coronavirus patients.
University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM) NHS Trust – which runs the Royal Stoke University Hospital – has today apologised to patients who have seen their planned surgeries axed in recent days.
It comes as the Hartshill complex was last week treating more than 300 coronavirus patients.
A Royal Stoke spokesman said: “The rise in Covid-19 cases in communities has meant that UHNM has seen a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 infected patients being cared for in its hospitals.
“Sadly we have had to reschedule some operations to ensure the safety of our patients and our services. This was not a decision we took lightly and our priority will always be to treat our most clinically urgent patients.
“We understand how distressing delaying treatments are for patients and we apologise that we have had to reduce the number of elective cases that are booked as part of our surge plan. We will continue to prioritise all urgent cases and maximise the use of the independent sector wherever possible.”
The spokesman added: “We want to reassure our communities that our hospitals are safe and it is extremely important that anyone with significant health concerns continues to come to us for help.
“It is really important that everyone plays their part in helping to limit the spread of infection by following the guidance to stay at home and remember Hands, Face, Space.”
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Health campaigner Ian Syme believes the operations are most likely being cancelled because there are not enough Covid-free beds for patients following their surgeries.
The North Staffordshire Healthwatch leader said: “There has to be a way around this because it is an extremely dangerous situation which needs dealing with and it has to be prioritised by the NHS.
“But remember what a layperson might see as life threatening isn’t the same as what a clinician would see as life threatening.
“There is pressure, and it’s understandable. While Covid is running rampant, there are a lot of people deteriorating on the waiting lists. It’s cancers, strokes, heart and renal problems, a whole range of things, where, because of Covid, people are suffering.”
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