NHS Lothian postpones 130 operations amid flu outbreak

A flu outbreak has put additional pressure on NHS staff. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
A flu outbreak has put additional pressure on NHS staff. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
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NHS Lothian has revealed that 130 elective operations have been postponed in the last week.

The health board say they are experiencing “significant pressures” this winter caused by a high number of flu cases and other respiratory illnesses.

The problems come as one of Scotland’s top medical figures issued a stark warning that hospitals could be forced to postpone more operations as the current flu outbreak takes hold and the number of cases rises.

Professor Derek Bell, who is the chairman of the Academy of Scottish Royal Colleges and Specialist Societies, said the rapid rise in cases combined with a spell of severe weather had led to emergency care facing the biggest pressures it had seen in a decade.

He said: “In terms of this winter, it has been one of the poorest for some time, maybe a decade.

“The issue we then have in relation to the impact of emergency care on planned care is how quickly we recover from the winter.

“The longer the flu season goes on, the longer poor weather conditions persist, the greater the impact of that will be.”

Jacquie Campbell, Chief Officer of Acute Services at NHS Lothian, said: “We are experiencing significant pressures this winter because of a high number of complex cases and respiratory illness and our staff are working extremely hard to continue to provide the highest standards of care.

“A total of 130 elective procedures have been deferred this week because of winter pressures.

“NHS Lothian works with a strict criteria developed by clinicians to assess patients depending on their clinical need and priority before any procedure is deferred.”