Three hospitals forced to suspend surgeries after peak of Covid-19 admissions

Kimberley Olds, NHS Pharmacy Technician, prepares the Covid-19 vaccine for use by the vaccinations team at the Royal Cornwall Hospital (Getty Images)
Kimberley Olds, NHS Pharmacy Technician, prepares the Covid-19 vaccine for use by the vaccinations team at the Royal Cornwall Hospital (Getty Images)

Three hospitals have been forced to suspend surgery departments after a peak in Covid admissions.

Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust’s (RCHT) medical director Allister Grant said the “difficult decision” was taken so that teams can look after emergency cases.

The NHS trust has more than 40 people in hospital who are Covid positive and nearly 50 more who are contacts and need to be isolated from other patients.

It operates Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske, Truro, St Micheal’s Hospital, Hayle, and West Cornwall Hospital, Penzance.

In a full statement, Dr Grant said: “With Covid-related admissions remaining high and health and care services in Cornwall under continued pressure, we’ve taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend planned routine and urgent surgery at our main hospitals, so our clinical teams can care for people needing emergency admission.

“There has been no let-up in demand and currently have more than 40 people in hospital who are Covid positive and nearly 50 more who are contacts and need to be isolated.

“A large proportion of the patients admitted for other medical problems or injuries have been unaware they have Covid until tested on admission and need to be cared for in separate areas to other patients.

“Our staff are working flexibly and extraordinarily hard to help us care safely for the higher numbers of people in hospital with Covid.

“This includes the orthopaedic and breast surgery teams at St Michael’s Hospital and the surgical unit team at West Cornwall Hospital who have changed the role of their wards to care for medical patients, whilst we get through what we hope will be the peak of C-related admissions.

“A large proportion of the patients admitted for other medical problems or injuries have been unaware they have Covid until tested on admission and need to be cared for in separate areas to other patients.

“Our pressures are compounded by the unprecedented demand on the ambulance service, the severity of illness of those needing emergency admission, and more than 100 people in our three hospitals who are ready to leave but are in need of care or support packages.

“We are working hard with our colleagues across the NHS, in social care and voluntary services to ease the pressures we are under.

“Both residents and holidaymakers can really help us, help them by making sure they choose the right services when it’s not a 999 emergency.

“By calling their own GP first or contacting 111, we will be able to concentrate on those in most need of specialist care and help us get ambulance crews back on the road.”

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