NHS Fife postpones non-urgent surgical procedures amid Covid rise

NHS Fife indicated that the decision had not been taken lightly.

NHS Fife postpones non-urgent surgical procedures amid Covid rise iStock

All non-urgent surgical procedures and some outpatient appointments have been postponed by NHS Fife.

In a statement on Friday, the health board said they had taken the decision due to help reduce the “unprecedented pressures” they are facing.

The board indicated the move is also aimed at protecting urgent care and cancer services.

NHS Fife in the statement went on to outline to safeguard those services due to the prevalence of Covid, with an increase in the number of hospitalisations expected in the coming weeks.

The announcement on Friday comes after the majority of non-urgent elective procedures were postponed by NHS Lanarkshire just over a fortnight ago.

At the start of August, NHS Lothian also postponed all non-urgent elective procedures and outpatient appointments amid staff shortages and rising patient demand.

Margo McGurk, deputy chief executive of NHS Fife, said that the decision was not taken lightly.

“The pressure on healthcare services in Fife at present is unlike anything we have experienced during our response to the pandemic,” she explained.

“Current projections are suggesting that this unprecedent demand will continue and increase still further, it was therefore vital that we had to act now and take the difficult decision to postpone routine procedures to protect our urgent care and cancer services.

“This decision was not taken lightly; our staff have worked tirelessly to try and avoid having to take this action.

“Patient safety is our single biggest priority, and the current rates of community transmission of Covid are adding to the already significant strain on all healthcare services.

“By postponing some clinical services will enable staff working in these areas to support their colleagues in emergency care, trauma, and cancer services to ensure those who are most unwell receive the vital care they need.”

McGurk said that the board hopes that the postponement be brief.

She said: “We know that this decision will have a direct impact on our patients, some of whom will have already waited a considerable period of time for treatment, and we sincerely apologise for the additional anxiety this will cause.

“Our hope is that this postponement will be brief, and we can resume any services stepped down as soon as it is safe to do so.”

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