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Shropshire hospitals reassure patients that cancer treatments and urgent care will continue during coronavirus crisis

By Lisa O'Brien | Bridgnorth | Coronavirus | Published:

The trust running Shropshire’s two main hospitals has reassured patients that cancer treatment and other urgent care will continue during the coronavirus crisis.

As hospitals across the UK have been told to suspend all non-urgent elective operations for at least three months, many have feared what it means for other, urgent operations.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital, said while it was temporarily suspending non-urgent elective operations, in line with national guidelines, this will not affect emergency cases and cancer treatments.

Medical director Dr Arne Rose 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 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.

“Urgent and emergency cases and cancer treatments will be carrying on as normal.”

The trust has been contacting affected patients.

The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, near Oswestry, says it is also prioritising urgent care.

Stacey Keegan, acting chief executive, said: “Hospitals have been told that cancer treatment and other clinically urgent care should continue to be prioritised. Decisions about treatment are rightly taken by expert clinicians who will be carrying out as much cancer treatment as possible, while clearly needing to balance this against the risk to individuals posed by coronavirus.”

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Elsewhere in the Midlands, both Dudley NHS Trust and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust have said urgent care will still be made a priority.

Diane Wake, chief executive of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust said: “Cancer treatment and other clinically urgent care continues to be prioritised. “Decisions about treatment are rightly taken by expert clinicians who will be carrying out as much cancer treatment as possible, while clearly needing to balance this against the risk to individuals posed by coronavirus.”

A spokesman for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust gave a similar response – to match with national guidelines – and said: “Hospitals have been told that cancer treatment and other clinically urgent care should continue to be prioritised. Decisions about treatment are rightly taken by expert clinicians who will be carrying out as much cancer treatment as possible, while clearly needing to balance this against the risk to individuals posed by coronavirus.”

An NHS spokesman for the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, which runs County Hospital in Stafford, also said the same.

The NHS Trusts responsible for Wolverhampton and Sandwell hospitals did not respond to requests for comment.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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