Planned operations postponed as Covid patient numbers rise at one of UK’s largest hospital trusts

Planned elective operations at one of the largest and busiest hospital trusts in the UK are having to be postponed after an increase in Covid-19 admissions.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said there is a “significant demand” for services across the healthcare system at its hospitals, including in the emergency departments.

Hospital bosses said they have had to postpone some operations to ensure patients who require urgent medical treatment are prioritised, amid reports that cancer surgeries are among those affected.

Dr Phil Wood, chief medical officer at the trust, said: “Drawing on experience from previous waves of the pandemic, we are enacting plans to help us treat increased numbers of Covid admissions while still providing care to those patients waiting for scheduled operations.

“While every patient’s care is important to us, we have had to postpone some planned elective operations to ensure patients who require urgent treatment are prioritised.

“All our cancer patients are given personal treatment plans based on clinical evidence from combined teams of senior clinicians.

“We are constantly reviewing the situation and we are committed to achieving timely and safe care for all our patients.”

Dr Wood added: “Along with the rest of the NHS, we are seeing an increase in patients admitted to our hospitals with Covid-19.

“Our hospitals continue to be incredibly busy with significant demand for services right across the healthcare system in Leeds, including in our emergency departments.”

In an email to senior doctors on Wednesday, the trust’s clinical directors said four cancer patients were due to be cancelled after extra admissions to critical care, the Independent reported.

The news organisation said the message told staff the situation was “unprecedented” for July and that it was “highly likely” they would have to open another Covid ward this week.

It said doctors were asked to use their expertise to help safely increase the number of discharges so elective patients could have operations and space could be made for coronavirus patients.

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