More hospitals expected to cancel planned operations as health chiefs beg non-urgent cases to stay away

Planned surgeries have been cancelled in NHS Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and Arran.Planned surgeries have been cancelled in NHS Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and Arran.
Planned surgeries have been cancelled in NHS Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and Arran.
More hospitals are expected to cancel planned operations, a leading surgeon has warned as Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Scotland.

Professor Michael Griffin, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, warned the country is in store for an “incredibly difficult” two months ahead.

Some 50 per cent of cancer surgery has been cancelled in London due to Covid-19 pressure, Professor Griffin said, and added that this “extremely worrying situation” may spread to Scotland as cases rise.

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The next eight weeks will be “crucial” in weathering the current stage of the virus, Professor Griffin said, but the situation could be better by Spring.

Nicola Sturgeon warned on January 4 that Scotland was about “four weeks behind London” in terms of the severity of the Covid-19 situation.

On that day London had a case rate of 1117 people per 100,000 across the previous seven days. The equivalent figure in Scotland was 302.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan later declared a “major incident” in London, meaning that special arrangements would be put in place by the NHS, local authorities and the emergency services.

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Some operations in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will be cancelled on a “case by case” basis to allow enough resources for Covid-19 and emergency care, the health board said.

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It comes after NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Ayrshire and Arran cancelled planned operations on Tuesday to cope with an expected influx of Covid-19 patients.

NHS Lanarkshire warned cases were expected to double within a week, from 288. At that time the health board had just 46 Covid-19 beds to spare.

The Medical Director of Ayrshire and Arran said the current crisis is putting “great strain on every aspect of the system”.

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NHS Lothian said on Friday that while planned operations are still going ahead, the health board is under “increasing” winter pressure.

Officials pleaded with non-urgent cases to stay away from A&E and minor injury units, amid warnings that too many people are not following this guidance.

"Hospitals are under increasing winter pressure and people are continuing to attend A&E and minor injury units with conditions that could be treated more quickly or closer to home by other health services,” NHS Lothian said in a statement.

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