Patients affected by the decision are being contacted, with all other patients who have not been contacted being instructed to attend for their appointment or procedure as scheduled.
In-patient operations that are being prioritised for proceeding include all patients on a cancer fastrack pathway and all patients on an urgent pathway who require their treatment within the next 2 weeks, however, this is still subject to bed availability.
Those patients not included above are being given priority for adding to a ‘standby’ list where, at short notice, they may be offered treatment. Those patients who have been previously cancelled during January and February whilst the Trust has been facing increased pressures will also be reviewed and prioritised.
Alan Sheward, Executive Director of Nursing and Workforce at Isle of Wight NHS Trust said:
“This winter has been exceptional with more elderly poorly patients being admitted through the Emergency Department and staying with us for longer due to their longer recovery time. This has placed enormous pressure on beds and staff.
“We have taken this difficult decision to give us some space and time to redeploy resources to meet the surge in demand and reduce the pressures on staff and beds.
“We are doing everything possible to make sure that where operations have to be cancelled, patients are being offered a new appointment as quickly as possible.”
Arrangements are in place to ensure the Trust can continue to safely treat patients and arrange the safe discharge of those who are well enough to go home or to alternative community care. The Trust is actively working with the local authority’s social services teams and the Island’s nursing homes, as well as patients’ families and carers, to ensure those ready to leave hospital can be found appropriate placements.
The new 13 bed Poppy Unit continues to take appropriate patients who are eligible to be cared for on the unit and is receiving good reviews from patients who have been through the Unit.
“I would like to thank all staff, whether based in the hospital, ambulance services, mental health or in the community for their continued efforts during this period of sustained pressure. The response had been fantastic and really shows why we have one of the best services in the Country and why the NHS is the leading healthcare system across the world.”
Dr Mark Pugh, Executive Medical Director at Isle of Wight NHS Trust added:
“Anyone needing non-urgent medical care is asked to consider using alternative healthcare services, such as phoning the non-emergency 111 advice line, their local pharmacy or GP.
“The national ‘Feeling Under the weather’ campaign (www.nhs.uk/asap) is based on research that shows that the elderly and those that care for them do not seek advice early enough and this enables conditions to deteriorate to a point where a referral to hospital is necessary. As soon as individuals start to develop a cough or cold we would encourage them to visit their local pharmacy for advice and over the counter medicine as this pre-emptive action may catch some of these nasty winter illnesses in the bud before they become full blown problems that we all have to cope with.”