Business as usual at the Orthopaedic despite winter pressures

Reporter:

Lucy Wain

Patients are being reassured that operations at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital are proceeding as planned this month – despite what they may have read about the NHS response to winter pressures.

News emerged yesterday that Trusts across the country were being advised to cancel non-urgent procedures this month in order to free up capacity for the sickest patients. This was requested as part of a raft of measures from the National Emergency Pressures Panel (NEPP).

But the Oswestry-based Orthopaedic is a specialist centre that does not feature an Emergency Department and does not take emergency admissions, so will be continuing to function as normal.

Beverley Tabernacle, director of nursing and deputy chief executive, said: “It is very much business as usual and we would like to reassure any patients booked in for procedures this month that it is our expectation that those will go ahead as planned.

“That is not to say that we are not doing all we can to support the wider local health economy.

“We have made a number beds available on our Care of the Elderly Ward to support our colleagues at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, and we are considering other measures we can take.

“The wider NHS is under a lot of pressure right now, and we want to do all we can to help.”

Elsewhere the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH) have said that they are taking measures to deal with very high demand facing the NHS.

Dr Edwin Borman, medical director, Deirdre Fowler, director of nursing, midwifery and quality and Sara Biffen, interim chief operating officer have released a joint statement saying: “As we have publicised recently, SaTH – like many other hospital trusts – is experiencing very high numbers of patients presenting at our two Emergency Departments at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford, as well as a high number of admissions, meaning that all of our Ward areas are full.

“Our staff are working incredibly hard under what are very difficult circumstances, but the number of patients we are seeing means that there are long delays in seeing patients in our Emergency Departments, and in helping patients on our Wards.

“At SaTH, we intend to review, on a week-by-week basis, elective operations and elective clinics. We will, however, ensure that patients requiring urgent assessment and treatment continue to be seen as a priority, as will patients requiring assessment and treatment for cancer and other potentially life-changing conditions.

“These decisions will be made in consultation with clinicians, including our doctors and nurses.

“Anyone who has their elective procedure cancelled will be contacted by the Trust.

“We would like to apologise for these exceptional measures but, given the considerable pressures our two hospitals are facing, we have to ensure that we prioritise the care of urgent and emergency patients.”

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