Shropshire health boss supporting UK coronavirus effort as hospital to suspend non-emergency surgery
Non-emergency surgery will be suspended at Shropshire's specialist orthopaedic hospital from tomorrow.
It comes as The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, near Oswestry, works to ensure it has as many beds available as possible during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Urgent cases, spinal surgery and cancer treatments will carry on as normal.
The hospital's chief executive Mark Brandreth is also currently away supporting work surrounding "assisted respiratory support capacity" as the NHS takes the next steps to deal with the pandemic.
NHS bosses have written to hospitals and they have been told to assume they will need to postpone all non-urgent operations from April 15 at the latest, “for a period of at least three months”.
Stacey Keegan, acting chief executive of RJAH, said: “As the chief medical officer has stated, NHS services are likely to come under intense pressure as the coronavirus spreads, and we need to ensure that we have as many beds available as possible to care for patients with severe respiratory problems when the number of infections peaks.
“Therefore, in line with well-established plans for situations like this, every hospital in England has now been asked to suspend all non-urgent elective operations from April 15 for at least three months, with some other procedures likely to be rescheduled before then so we can train our staff and adapt certain areas.
“We will be stopping all non-emergency elective activity with effect from Friday, March 20.
“Urgent and emergency cases, spinal surgery and cancer treatments will be carrying on as normal, but we know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried, and we will be contacting everyone affected as soon as possible.”
The letter, which was sent to all NHS trusts, commissioners and healthcare providers, outlines the steps being taken to prepare for, and respond to, large numbers of inpatients requiring respiratory support.
It says data on Covid-19 patients suggests that a significant proportion who are hospitalised require respiratory support and RJAH's chief executive is helping with the efforts.
The letter says: "National procurement for assisted respiratory support capacity, particularly mechanical ventilation, is also well under way in conjunction with the
Department of Health and Social Care.
"In addition, the Government is working with the manufacturing sector to bring new manufacturers online.
"These devices will be made available to the NHS across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland according to need. Mark Brandreth, chief executive of Agnes Jones and Robert Hunt foundation trust is now supporting this work."