A York MP has called on hospital bosses to explain what is happening to operations not connected to the coronavirus outbreak.
Julian Sturdy has contacted the chief executive of York Hospital NHS Trust to ask for clarification on the rescheduling of operations and care that have been delayed due to the virus.
An estimated 2.1 million routine operations have been cancelled nationwide since 15th April in order to prevent the transmission of the virus, and to give the NHS the necessary space to take the strain of Covid-19 cases.
This helped free up more than 33,000 beds, in addition to the new Nightingale hospitals built from scratch, to absorb the rise in cases that now seems to have peaked.
But the York Outer MP said the delays to these operations understandably of concern to those awaiting surgery, many of whom are in very poor health.
His call comes as people are choosing to stay away from the NHS – as the York Press reports, the two-week referral rate for cancer appointments across the city has fallen by around 70 per cent.
Wave of new patients
Mr Sturdy said postponing important non-emergency surgery and procedures for a long period “could risk generating a further surge of urgent hospital admissions cases from non-coronavirus conditions, at just the time that our local NHS needs to be on guard against any ‘second wave’ of Covid-19”.
So he has asked trust chief executive Simon Morritt to publicly clarify the trust’s plan for resuming routine operations as soon as is sensible to do so, in order to reassure affected local residents.
The MP said: “I know everyone in our city is incredibly grateful for the sterling efforts of York Hospital Trust, who are continuing their amazing efforts to defeat the virus locally.
“It was essential to focus resources on tackling Covid-19 as it peaked, and this will of course remain the overriding priority at York Hospital for the foreseeable future.
“Nevertheless, prolonged delays to routine surgery and treatment for life-threatening conditions like cancer obviously risk storing up a wave of non-coronavirus patients needing hospital care, and it would be reassuring for there to be clarity on the trust’s plan to address this risk, alongside its ongoing Covid response.”
He said many York residents awaiting surgery would appreciate official conformation of the revised timetable for their treatment.
“I am of course available to assist the trust in any way, and make their case to the Department of Health as required.”