Missed hospital appointments and the NHS

Jon Ashworth

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has apologised to those affected.

Hospitals in England have been advised to cancel all non-urgent operations and in-patient treatments until at least the end of January after A&E departments experienced extreme pressure over the Christmas and New Year period.

TENS OF THOUSANDS of non-urgent NHS operations and procedures in England will be deferred until 31 January, due to winter pressures.

Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected claims the NHS is in crisis, telling the media the state health service is better prepared for the winter illness spike "more than ever before".

"I would also like to thank everyone who has been assisting us - from those only using A&E when absolutely necessary, to families helping loved ones leave hospital in a timely way to release beds for others in need".

"If you do become unwell and need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency, call NHS 111 for clinical advice, assessment and for direction to the most appropriate services for treatment".

Simon Evans, director of operations at ULHT, said: "As part of our winter plan we schedule fewer non-urgent and non-cancer operations so we are able to prioritise emergency patients".

Dozens of operations are set to be cancelled in Burnley due to "a surge in demand" over Christmas and the New Year.

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NHS England has also announced that sanctions for mixed-sex accomodation breaches will be temporarily lifted, with current NHS rules stating men and women should be treated on different wards.

"The NHS needs to take further action to increase capacity and minimise disruptive last-minute cancellations".

"Winter is an extremely busy time of year for the ambulance service and the NHS more widely and we will continue to work as a collective with our health board partners to manage increased demand".

A Trust spokesman said: "We strive to provide the best, high quality, safe care we can for every one of our patients and our hard working staff go above and beyond to ensure that patient safety is the highest priority".

Further recommendations include the installation of consultant triage at the front-door so patients are seen by a senior decision maker on arrival at the emergency department, the staffing of additional inpatient beds, and twice daily patient reviews to facilitate discharges at the earliest opportunity.

"For people who have been waiting for procedures and appointments, it's outrageous", he said.

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