The Western Trust has apologised for postponing all its red flag cancer surgery and treatments, as a result of the latest surge in the number of critically ill Covid patients.
Geraldine McKay, director of acute services for the Western Trust said: “The Western Trust has taken the very difficult but necessary decision to postpone all red flag cancer surgery / treatments from Monday 18 January 2021.
“We would like to sincerely apologise to our patients, their families and carers for this difficult decision to postpone these treatments and surgery at this time. All affected patients are being contacted directly.
“As the region continues to see a rise in the number of patients admitted to our hospitals with Covid-19, our staff will be required to support the care of the increasing number of Covid-19 patients who may require intensive care or enhanced respiratory support over the coming weeks.
“This was an incredibly difficult decision to make. We do not underestimate the anxiety and distress this causes the patients and families affected and we deeply regret this. We would like to reassure those patients that we will do everything in our power to reschedule their operation as soon as possible.”
Geraldine continued: “The Trust will continue to provide emergency, trauma and some time-critical procedures.The decision to postpone all red flag cancer surgery will be closely monitored and reviewed regularly.”
First Minister Arlene Foster, an MLA for the area, said it was “a deeply concerning development.”
“No one wants to see one condition elevated as more important than another,” she said. “I appreciate the pressures on hospitals but I am very uncomfortable with cancer patients taking as secondary place to covid-19 patients.
“This is a severe reminder that we must all work together to follow the Covid-19 regulations so we can break the transmission and reduce the spread of the virus. All of these regulations are about reducing the pressure on our frontline hospitals.”
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