Loading...

Non-urgent surgery put on hold in Greater Manchester over Covid staffing concerns

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership said an increasing number of staff were off sick or isolating due to Covid-19.

Health bosses have announced some non-urgent surgery and medical appointments are being put on hold as a temporary measure, because of the impact of Covid-19 on staffing levels.

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership said patients who are affected by the move will be contacted individually.

Sign up to our ManchesterWorld Today newsletter

Meanwhile, appointments for cancer and urgent operations such as transplants will go ahead.

The Partnership said around 15% of staff were absent due to Covid or isolation, forcing the move. They added Covid admissions are ‘rising sharply’, with up to one in five hospital patients having Covid at some centres.

A statement said: “This is a temporary measure, and the aim is to impact the fewest number of patients. It will not affect cancer and urgent care including cardiac surgery, vascular surgery and transplantation.

“The decision affects hospitals across the region and will start to be implemented from Tuesday 4 January. Our hospitals will be contacting those affected as soon as possible. “If you are not contacted then assume your treatment is continuing as planned. There is no need to contact the hospital or your GP practice for this information.”

What does the data show?

Dr David Levy, the NHS North West regional medical director, also told the BBC that hospitals were under pressure across the entire region because of the number of Covid patients and isolating staff, adding frontline workers were under “fairly intense pressure at the moment”.

Data for the week ending 26 December showed the number of staff having to stay off work in Greater Manchester’s hospitals for Covid-related reasons has been going up.

At Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, the weekly average number of employees absent from their jobs due to being ill or self-isolating in the week ending Boxing Day was 859 - up from the average of 453 recorded in the previous week

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces scrutiny today from MPs over his plans to “ride out” the wave of Omicron without further restrictions, announced in a press conference on Tuesday.