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Hospitals to delay routine operations due to winter pressures on NHS
14 January 2018, 09:50 | Lena Norman
Flu epidemic hits UK Hospitals over Christmas
NHS England is advising hospitals to defer non-urgent, elective operations and procedures until next month to help the health service deal with high pressures over the winter period.
Following the recommendations from NHS England to try and reduce emergency pressures at our hospitals, we are doing everything we can to ensure that our sickest patients are provided with great quality care, quickly, during this time.
Professor Keith Willett, director of acute care for NHS England, said that the delay of non-urgent operations was not a crisis and added the NHS in England was reacting to concerns from doctors and nurses over a rise in flu incidents, as well as predicted cold weather.
"We're saying actually we want to do this in a measured, structured way so we set up an independent group of very senior doctors who look at the latest information, the pressures in the system, what's happening with flu and so on".
"It's very important that patients with planned operations, procedures or outpatient appointments should attend as normal unless they are specifically contacted by their hospital and asked not to". When patients are in crowded emergency departments and staff can not actually move between patients and provide the basic level of care that's required, then safety is compromised.
To cope with the increased demand, the panel also advised that CCGs should temporarily suspend sanctions for breaches of mixed sex patient accommodation. "The NHS needs to take further action to increase capacity and minimise disruptive last minute cancellations".
He said it was "absolutely not" what he wanted but the move was "needed given the pressure hospitals are under during the busiest week of the year for the NHS".
Jane Cummings has called for the public to stop wasting time and resources as the NHS enters what is expected to be one of its busiest weeks of the year.
"But I recognise for those people that have had their operations postponed this is disappointing, it's frustrating".
Tracy Bullock, the chief executive of Mid Cheshire hospitals NHS foundation trust, tweeted that, in her 34 years working in the NHS, she had "never seen anything like this".
Mrs Cooper said a Labour government would create more funding and staffing for the NHS, principally by taxing higher earners. On New Year's Eve patients were urged to only call 999 if their situation was "life-threatening" or extremely serious in a desperate bid to ease strain on overloaded paramedic crews.
Prof Hinchliffe added: "If you are not seriously ill, A&E may not be the best place for you to get the treatment you need and you may wait for a long time".
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