Health board to continue to delay non-urgent surgery and care

NHS Western Isles said the move would help in its efforts to respond effectively to urgent, cancer and unplanned care.

Health board to continue to delay non-urgent surgery and care iStock
Hospital: NHS Western Isles will continue to delay non-urgent care appointments.

NHS Western Isles will continue to delay non-urgent care appointments due to sustained pressure on its services.

Alongside its response to the Covid pandemic last year, the health board had been delivering its full range of services.

In November a “difficult decision” was taken to postpone non-urgent planned care episodes and appointments due to continued demand.

NHS Western Isles said the move would help in its efforts to respond effectively to urgent, cancer and unplanned care.

On Monday, the health board confirmed it will continue to “focus on and prioritise those who are most unwell and requiring urgent care”.

Outpatient clinics and some planned surgery will be affected. Patients due to be rescheduled will be contacted individually.

The decision will be reassessed at the end of January.

Gordon Jamieson, NHS Western Isles’ chief executive, said: “Pressure on our services at present is significant and current projections suggest that this demand will continue and increase further over the coming weeks.

“It was therefore necessary to continue to protect our urgent, unplanned and cancer care services and ensure that those who are most unwell receive the services that they need. This was a reluctant decision but unfortunately necessary in the present circumstances.

“We will resume normal service delivery as soon as possible and would apologise sincerely to anyone that this decision will affect.

“We know that the decision to extend the postponement of non-urgent procedures and appointments will come as a significant disappointment to some of our patients who are waiting for treatment or a procedure.

“What we can assure is that we will resume full service delivery as soon as we consider that it is safe to do so, and this will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.”