Coronavirus: Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham postpones elective procedures after increases in COVID and other illnesses

·2-min read

A hospital in Birmingham has announced that all elective procedures are being postponed due to a "significant rise" in "very sick" patients.

The seriously ill patients include both those with COVID-19 and those with other illnesses too, according to a statement from University Hospitals Birmingham.

Procedures have been suspended at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, and gynaecology procedures at Good Hope Hospital have also been paused.

Universities Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is the largest hospital trust in England.

A statement fom the trust said: "This is an extremely difficult decision and has not been taken lightly. We know that affected patients will be distressed and upset with this decision, and for this we can only apologise.

"However, we must ensure that all those needing urgent care are able to access treatment safely.

"Cancer treatment and life-saving care will remain our priority. All patients affected by this announcement will be contacted individually to rearrange their postponed surgery."

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The news comes days after a "major incident" was declared by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) after it received a large number of calls.

In a statement posted to Twitter and Facebook, NWAS said that if callers had a non life-threatening concern, they may be asked to seek treatment elsewhere or make their own way to hospital. The incident was stood down hours later.

NHS managers hope to keep elective procedures running throughout the second wave of coronavirus but industry leaders are cast doubt on this.

Nicki Credland, chair of the British Association of Critical Care Nurses: "Maintaining elective work for the NHS is really important in terms of the health of the nation.

"Nobody, no nurse, no doctor within the NHS would ever want patients to be suffering because they can't access the NHS for routine treatment.

"It is simply not possible for those staff to be in two places at once."