Another NHS health board in Scotland has temporarily postponed the majority of non-urgent elective procedures for the next couple of weeks due to “unprecedented pressures”.
NHS Lanarkshire is facing issues with a steady flow of more than 700 patients across its three hospitals over the past few weeks and months.
While those affected will receive a letter, text message or voice message with details of any cancellation, postponement or new appointment, a number of clinically urgent and priority procedures are not affected.
Dr John Keaney, NHS Lanarkshire acute medical director, said: “The sustained pressure we are seeing across our three acute hospitals is showing no signs of easing and our staff are struggling to cope.
“We are facing relentless pressures, bed shortages and staff shortages due to sickness, stress and self-isolation.
“Unfortunately we are having to postpone the majority of non-urgent procedures and I would like to apologies to those patients affected.
“Most patients will receive a text message confirming the postponement of their appointment.
“A small number of appointments will still go ahead as scheduled based on clinical priority.
“Cancelling this inpatient activity will release bed capacity and staff to support our A&E department which is currently seeing an unprecedented level of activity.”
Lanarkshire is not the first health board to take the measure in recent weeks with NHS Borders also cancelling scheduled routine operations for two weeks (up to September 5).
NHS Lothian did the same temporarily last month.
It comes as Scotland recorded more than 5,000 coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest ever figure for a single day.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged people to follow health advice and take precautions due to “another sharp rise in the number of cases today”.
Dr Keaney added: “General practice has continued to provide vital healthcare services throughout Covid-19.
“Like many other areas, services have been provided in different ways to ensure everyone’s safety and patients should contact their GP where appropriate.
“Staff have worked tirelessly treating Covid and non-Covid patients throughout the pandemic.
“Due to all the infection prevention and control measures required in our hospitals to ensure the safety of staff and patients, there are a number of challenges and we are asking the public for their continued patience and understanding.”