University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has postponed all non-urgent surgical operations at Furness General Hospital (FGH) and at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI). It has also postponed some non-urgent operations at Westmorland General Hospital.
The Trust is reluctantly postponing appointments for planned non-urgent surgical procedures (operations at the hospital) due to the current pressure facing the hospitals, and in particular the Intensive Care Units, because of increasing numbers of patients with COVID-19.
Outpatient appointments are unaffected, as are appointments for patients who require clinically urgent operations or procedures, such as surgery as part of their cancer treatment.
Dr Shahedal Bari, Medical Director, said: "It is with a heavy heart that we take this action as we know that many people have waited patiently for their appointments following the postponement of some services at the start of the pandemic. However, it is essential that we ensure we have the right amount of beds and staff to safely care for our sickest patients.
"It isn't a decision we have taken lightly and we apologise to all those affected. Our clinical teams are currently reviewing all patients awaiting a non-urgent procedure to assess whether the risk is greater to those people if their appointment is postponed.
"If we do need to postpone your appointment, we will contact you directly. If you are not contacted and have an appointment with us for a procedure, operation or outpatient appointment, please do keep it. We have put a number of measures into place to ensure that our services are safe so please do keep your appointments, unless we contact you.
"We will reschedule the appointments we postpone as soon as we are able to do so whilst keeping those patients that need critical care safe."
"Please do not attend if you have any symptoms of coronavirus such as a persistent cough, a fever or a loss or change in your taste or smell, but stay at home, and let us know by contacting the contact centre on 01539 732288," added Dr Bari.