Operations face cancellation as winter pressures bite NHS

Royal Preston
Royal Preston

Patients face non-urgent procedures being cancelled as winter pressures hit hospitals in Preston and Chorley.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust says some day case and some outpatient appointments are likely to affected, though they could not confirm yet how many appointments would be postponed. Patients will be contacted directly if they are affected.

It comes after NHS England warned trusts on Wednesday that non-urgent appointments should be delayed to help deal with a surge in hospital patients nationally this winter. Performance data for the week over Christmas is due out today.

Karen Partington, chairman of the central Lancashire A&E Delivery Board and Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Like other NHS organisations across the country, we have seen an increase in respiratory conditions, more severe illness, and an increase in flu which means our hospitals are very busy.

“To plan appropriately for rising demand many hospitals carry out fewer scheduled operations at this time of year. In line with national recommendations we are currently reviewing the schedule of operations and outpatient appointments planned for January. We will contact patients directly as soon as possible if we need to reschedule any operations and appointments – if you don’t hear from us please come to hospital as planned.

“We apologise to every patient whose procedure or appointment will be affected, and recognise the concern and inconvenience this will cause. Please be assured we will be in touch in the coming weeks to reschedule your treatment or appointment as quickly as possible, and thank you for your patience and understanding in these challenging circumstances.

“Our staff have been working tirelessly in recent weeks and throughout the festive period to provide compassionate care for the continuously increasing number of patients who needed hospital services. On behalf of our board and patients I thank them for their continued commitment and heroic efforts.”

Denis Gizzi, deputy chairman of the central Lancashire A&E Delivery Board, added: “At this exceptionally busy time, we encourage everyone to use NHS services appropriately. Pharmacists can offer over-the-counter medicines for a range of winter illnesses, and NHS 111 can provide medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nearly all GPs in our area are also offering additional evening and weekend appointments, and patients should enquire at their practice for details.

“Making best use of the services available can help free up hospital services for those who are seriously ill.”

- Have you been affected? Email us at lep.newsdesk@lep.co.uk or call 01772 838164.