Some hospital treatments being postponed on Monday

time:2023-06-10 22:19:00source:Al Jazeera author:Press center8

Thousands of NHS operations and appointments look set to be cancelled on the day of the Queen's funeral.

The introduction of a last-minute bank holiday has meant hospitals are now postponing some routine treatments which had been booked in for Monday.

A host of leading hospitals told the BBC there would be some disruption to their services.

The NHS said patients should be contacted by hospitals to let them know whether their appointment is on or not.

Patients are being asked not to contact hospitals directly.

Some trusts also reported patients were cancelling their appointments themselves because of the funeral.

The disruption is affecting planned treatments, such as hip replacements and outpatient appointments. Emergency care services will be running as normal.

Covid vaccination clinics are largely carrying on, with the NHS asked in particular to prioritise those being done in care homes.

One of those affected is John Coyle, from Kent. He was due to have a stent removed, but that procedure has been put off until the end of October.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I've almost lost count of how many procedures I've had postponed or cancelled.

"I'm sure if the Queen knew what was happening she wouldn't have let it happen. It's totally unnecessary."

Doctors' leaders said hospitals needed greater clarity on what was expected of them, as there is quite a wide variation in terms of approaches being taken.

For example, London's Barts Health said it would be keeping planned surgery going, but neighbouring trusts in the city said most routine treatments would be postponed.

Prof Philip Banfield, of the British Medical Association, said: "There remains confusion over what NHS services will be provided in hospitals. NHS England must urgently clarify their advice about the services they are expected to provide and how they will be resourced to do so."

Imperial College Healthcare, which runs five hospitals in London, said it had "decided on balance it is best to postpone much of the planned care that was due to take place".

In a statement, the trust said it would continue with all urgent and emergency services and routine appointments that were "time-critical".

Other NHS trusts which confirmed there would be some disruption to routine services include Bedfordshire Hospitals, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, University Hospitals Birmingham and King's College Hospital and the Royal Free, both of which are in London.

Bosses in Greater Manchester said some treatments would be affected across its network of hospitals, but it would prioritise urgent treatment.

In Scotland, NHS bosses said there may be some scaling back of operations in some areas - although in parts of the nation Monday had already been designated as a regional holiday.

In Wales, there is expected to be some disruption too with the Aneurin Bevan health board, which covers Gwent, saying only urgent treatments would proceed.

One of the key issues hospitals are trying to work through is which staff will be available, with schools closed and normal childcare arrangements possibly disrupted.

But some hospitals said they feared significant numbers of patients would also cancel their appointments themselves or not turn up, because of a desire to watch the funeral or take part in events.

Dr Layla McCay, of the NHS Confederation, which represents hospitals, said it was vital patients let services know if they would not be attending.

She said where the NHS was rescheduling appointments, this would be communicated early and re-booked as soon as possible: "The NHS is very familiar with providing support for its patients every day of the year, including over public holidays."

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