A hospital trust in the south east is postponing some non-urgent operations and redeploying staff as it feels pressure amid the nationwide surge in Covid-19.
University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust (UHSussex) faces “unprecedented delays” in discharging patients as well as high numbers of staff off with the virus.
Chief Nurse Dr Maggie Davies said the trust is doing “everything we can to ease pressures” and said urgent operations and cancer treatment are being prioritised.
Pressures have been rising across the Sussex trust over the last few weeks as the Omicron variant has gripped the country, and hospitals are now seeing a predicted surge.
Dr Davies said: “Unfortunately, this does mean postponing some non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments to accommodate those patients with the most urgent clinical need.
“We will continue to prioritise cancer and our other most urgent operations and appointments and are in the process of contacting those patients whose appointments are being postponed.
“We know it is distressing for people when operations are delayed and we are doing everything we can to ease pressures.”
In a statement on Tuesday, the trust announced that it is postponing some planned procedures in order to create space for patients needing urgent care.
UHSussex is also seeing unprecedented delays in discharges due to a lack of capacity across local NHS and social care services.
The trust currently has 232 patients in its hospitals who are medically ready for discharge, it said.
Dr Maggie Davies added: “People can help us manage these periods of demand by ensuring they are seeking help from the most appropriate health services through their GP, NHS 111, or their local pharmacy; they comply with our guidance, and have their booster jab.
“Our teams and community partners continue to work exceptionally hard, keeping things moving and getting our patients discharged in a timely way to create additional beds for patients who need them.
“Once patients are medically ready to leave hospital, we need their families, carers or social care settings to support them as much as necessary to be able to go home safely.”