North Wales health board postpones non-urgent operations, procedures & outpatient appointments with immediate effect
The health board have announced they are postponing non-urgent operations, procedures and outpatient appointments with immediate effect, due to booster efforts and projected staff shortages due to Omicron.
The local health board have said anyone whose procedures will be postponed will be contacted directly and are asked not to contact the hospitals.
The move follows a huge increase in the number of COVID-19 vaccines given out across North Wales, more than doubled the previous week’s vaccination rate – administering a record 66,000 vaccines, including 24,000 over the weekend alone.
Last week the Health Minister trailed the possibility, saying the vaccine booster programme was the ‘number one priority’, and when asked about the impact on planned health services due to the shift in focus, the Minister said, “We need to make it absolutely clear. What we’re talking about here is a three week burst of activity, and then hopefully we will be able to get back to some kind of normality.”
Tonight Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board have said, “Our staff are pulling out all the stops to administer booster jabs to all eligible adults in the next 10 days, ahead of an anticipated peak in Omicron cases in January. Getting booster jabs into the arms of all eligible adults over the next 10 days is critical if we are to protect NHS services in January.”
“This represents a huge challenge – particularly as we are forecasting that a significant number of staff may be absent from work due to COVID-19 infection or self-isolation over the coming weeks.”
“To ensure that we can deploy our staff as effectively as possible, we have reluctantly taken the very difficult decision to postpone non-urgent operations, procedures and outpatient appointments with immediate effect from Monday, 20 December 2021. We have also asked that all other non-essential services are paused to allow staff to be released to support the vaccination campaign.”
“All emergency surgery, urgent cancer treatment and maternity services will continue across our three main hospitals.”
“All patients whose procedures will be postponed will be contacted directly and are asked not to contact the hospitals.”
Dr Nick Lyons, Executive Medical Director at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “We have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone non-urgent procedures and outpatient appointments until 4 January, 2022.
“This is the best way of protecting our workforce and delivering our vaccination programme which has been rapidly accelerated to be completed by the end of this month. In turn, this will help to protect our services throughout the winter months.
“We understand this will be distressing news for patients who are expecting to undergo an operation or receive their appointment over the coming weeks and I sincerely apologise for this.
“We will be regularly reviewing these changes in light of emerging evidence and transmission rates across North Wales.”
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