Pausing planned procedures due to rise in Covid-19 numbers

Published on: 23rd December 2020

Like the rest of the capital, hospitals across North West London are now very busy. At a sector and trust level, we’ve launched plans to care safely for this increase in patients and actions include standing up additional critical care capacity with some staff redeployed and on standby for redeployment to support patients. 
 
With admission rates still rising due to Covid-19, we have made a decision to reduce our levels of non-urgent, planned care and some outpatient appointments. This will allow us to continue to provide all urgent and emergency care, including cancer care.

Patients who are affected by this decision will be contacted directly as soon as possible. If they do not hear from us, patients should visit their hospital or attend their phone/video appointment as planned. 

We are already taking every precaution to ensure our patients, visitors and staff are safe in our hospitals and encourage patients that require urgent or emergency care to access the support they need.
 
We know this will be disappointing news for those waiting for planned treatment, and we are sorry for this. We will monitor this position on an on-going basis so that we can stand back up non urgent care as soon as possible.
 
Visiting
 
To keep patients on our wards safe, visitors will not be able to attend any of our sites, however, compassionate visits to vulnerable individuals can still be arranged with ward teams.

Accessing NHS services

If you need medical attention, the NHS is open, contact your GP, use the 111 online service or call 111. In a medical emergency, as always, you should dial 999.

Tier 4 guidance

We advise residents to follow the tier 4 national guidance over the Christmas period to stay at home, with their household and minimise contact with others.

The full tier 4 guidance can be found here  - Tier 4: Stay at Home - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) – with a summary below:

  • It is vital to follow the “Hands, Face, Space” guidance – and that get a test locally if you develop any Covid-19 symptoms.
  • Stay home unless making essential journeys
  • All non-essential shops and close contact businesses, including hairdressers, nail salons and gyms in the borough will close
  • People should work from home if they can
  • No mixing of households allowed indoors
  • No overnight stays outside your household or support bubble in Tier 4
  • We should not travel outside of your local Tier 4 area
  • We are allowed to meet one other person outdoors 

We wish you well during this very difficult time.

Frequently asked questions  
 
Why are you cancelling operations or appointments? 
 
As more people require care for Covid-19, it’s essential for us to free up vital clinical staff to support areas of our hospitals that need it most during this challenging time.  

We know how disappointing this will be for patients who have been waiting, and we are sorry if you are affected by this decision. 
 
Do you know when I might be rescheduled? 
 
Unfortunately at this time, we are not able to advise when you might be rescheduled. We will be reviewing this decision on an on-going basis, and you will be contacted as soon as it is possible for us to see you. 
 
This is not the first time my operation/appointment has already been postponed – will I be prioritised when the service is up and running again? 
 
We are really sorry for your experience. We are continuing to see and treat patients with the most urgent clinical need. When our services resume, patients will be seen in order of clinical priority. 
 
What do I do if my condition worsens? 
 
If you have any concerns about your health, or your condition has deteriorated, please contact your hospital service or GP.  
 
What do I do if I experience symptoms that concern me? 
 
If you have any symptom that you are worried about, speak to your GP without delay.  
 
I haven’t been contacted – should I still attend the hospital? 
 
If you have not been advised of any changes to your operation/procedure/appointment, please attend your appointment as planned.  
 
Can I still access the hospital in an emergency? 
 
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing a serious or life threatening emergency (for example symptoms of a heart attack or stroke) you must dial 999 immediately. 

If you require urgent care, please call NHS 111 first. 
 
I would like to give feedback or raise a concern. Who can I speak to? 

We encourage you to get in touch with us if you have any feedback or a concern. 

Our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) is also available to support you should you need it.