Hospital boss warns patients to expect delays to non-urgent treatment

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust Picture: ARCHAN

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

The boss of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals has sent an open letter to patients warning that routine outpatient treatment or planned surgery will be postponed or cancelled and rearranged because of the coronavirus crisis.

But Nick Hulme has emphasised that people should continue to attend booked appointments unless they are specifically told they have been cancelled by the hospital.

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The message says: “Thank you for your patience as our hospital teams work to keep everyone safe during this unprecedented Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“We are taking steps to make sure we are fully prepared and have all the beds, staff and equipment available to help patients when they need it most.”

Managing our appointments:

Planned surgery for inpatients and day surgery: All non-clinically urgent planned surgery and day cases are now being cancelled. You will be telephoned by our hospital team to tell you this. At this stage we are not able to give you a date for when we can rearrange your surgery but will be back in touch as soon as we are able.

Outpatients: To limit visits to the hospital and help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we are asking our doctors to review all routine outpatient appointments to see if they be carried out via telephone or video link. If this is not possible, and the appointment is routine, then we will cancel the appointment and rebook it for a later date. All essential outpatient care will carry on.

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Our teams will be in contact with every patient who is affected by these new arrangements. Unless you are contacted directly by one of our hospital staff, please do attend your appointment or your surgery as planned.

I know that this may be worrying for our patients and their families, and it is not a decision that we have taken lightly. It is based on the advice of our Consultants and is in line with the emerging national NHS policy.

The reason for the postponement is to free up staff, beds and other resources in our hospitals so that we can prepare the hospital for any patients who may need emergency and urgent care during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Thank you for your understanding and continuing support of our hospitals.

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