By Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter
St George’s Hospital in Tooting is pausing all routine planned operations and routine outpatient appointments from now until the end of January due to coronavirus pressures and higher numbers of patients accessing urgent and emergency care.
The hospital announced the decision today to ensure it can continue to provide safe and effective care for those that need it.
However, urgent and emergency operations and procedures – including for cancer – will continue to go ahead as normal.
Likewise, urgent outpatient appointments and diagnostics (including MRI, CT, ultrasound, echocardiography and endoscopy) will go ahead as normal.
The hospital said its teams will be contacting patients affected by today’s announcement in due course.
In a statement on its website, it said: “We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused. We will rebook patients whose appointments have been cancelled as soon as possible.
“We will review the situation on a weekly basis, and restart planned care as soon as we are in a position to do so.
“Our senior clinical leadership team has taken this decision to free up staff to support our emergency, inpatient and intensive care teams, who are caring for a high number of patients at present, including those with Covid-19.”
As of yesterday there were 35 Covid-19 positive patients being cared for in the hospital’s intensive care unit, and 160 Covid-19 positive patients being cared for on the wards.
Since March, 375 patients have sadly died and tested positive for Covid-19.
Dr Richard Jennings, Chief Medical Officer at St George’s, added: ‘’Our teams are very busy at present, and we need to ensure we are in a position to provide safe and effective care for those patients most in need.
“We have robust plans in place to ensure we can continue to meet demand – and today’s decision is a key part of staying ahead, and taking proactive decisions that are in the best interests of all our patients, given the current challenges presented by Covid-19.”
Patients should note that if they are NOT contacted and have an operation scan or outpatient appointment scheduled between now and the end of January, they should attend hospital as planned.
Likewise, if anyone is concerned about their health, or their condition has deteriorated they should contact their hospital service or GP.
If someone is experiencing a serious or life threatening emergency (for example symptoms of a heart attack or stroke) you must dial 999 immediately.
If you require urgent care, please call NHS 111 first.
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