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#Snowmageddon: Hospitals cancel non-urgent appointments and operations

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By vfiore
1 March 2018

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Health bosses across the UK have decided to cancel or postpone non-urgent appointments, as the freezing weather continues today.

Several trusts have contacted patients to make them aware if their appointments have been cancelled, in a bid to minimise risks to their safety, health leaders have said.

It comes as Public Health England (PHE) published yesterday (28 February) yet more warnings to people, as they said that forecasts by the Met Office suggested parts of England will experience freezing temperatures. 

Health bosses across the UK have decided to cancel or postpone non-urgent appointments, as the freezing weather continues today.

Several trusts have contacted patients to make them aware if their appointments have been cancelled, in a bid to minimise risks to their safety, health leaders have said.

It comes as Public Health England (PHE) published yesterday (28 February) yet more warnings to people, as they said that forecasts by the Met Office suggested parts of England will experience freezing temperatures. 

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust cancelled all non-urgent appointments yesterday (28 February), today (1 March) and tomorrow (2 March) due to the cold snap.

In a statement on their website, they wrote: ‘Many of our staff haven’t been able to get into work due to heavy snow and we don’t want patients to risk their safety by travelling to one of our hospitals for a routine appointment.’

Southend University Hospital

Southend University Hospital in Southend-on-Sea has cancelled all outpatients appointments planned for the afternoon of 28 February to minimise risks to patients travelling to the hospital.

Patients that are already travelling to the hospital or those that are expected to undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments will see no change made to their appointments, the hospital has specified on its website.

Medical director at Southend University Hospital Neil Rothnie said: ‘The low temperatures and icy conditions present a hazard to patients attempting to travel to Southend Hospital so we have taken this decision to minimise risk to patients who may already be unwell.’

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

Outpatient appointments and elective procedures were cancelled yesterday (28 February) at Grimsby Hospital, Scunthorpe General Hospital and Goole Hospital due to severe weather conditions, which are all run by Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust wrote on Twitter: ‘The majority of our outpatient appointments will be reinstated tomorrow after disruption caused by the adverse weather conditions today.

‘Appointments at Goole Hospital will go ahead as usual but a small number of planned operations/appointments at Scunthorpe and Grimsby hospitals will not be running. All affected patients will be contacted in advance. Please attend your appointment unless you hear otherwise.’

Medway NHS Foundation Trust

Medway NHS Foundation Trust has also decided to cancel non-urgent appointments to safeguard patient’s safety.

Chief executive of the Trust Lesley Dwyer said: ‘A significant number of patients are not attending their outpatient appointments as the weather is discouraging patients from coming in.

‘We have taken the decision to cancel some of our non-urgent planned operations and outpatient appointments to ensure we can deploy our staff where they are needed most.’

Leaders took action just after senior doctors at the Society for Acute Medicine warned of the expected rise in hospital admission following the cold weather.

‘A perfect storm of appalling weather’

Speaking at yesterday’s National Emergency Pressures Panel (NEPP), professor Sir Bruce Keogh said: ‘The panel wants to thank all NHS colleagues for their continued hard work and dedication in the face of a ‘perfect storm’ of appalling weather, flu and norovirus. 

‘With the severe conditions expected to continue we ask patients, their families to bear with us as we seek to minimise any disruption.’

The panel also said that given the severity and duration of the cold weather, ‘the NHS should be ready for continued pressure as a result of this cold snap, which typically triggers a rise in hospital attendances and admissions’.

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