Hundreds of urgent children’s operations have been cancelled to make way for adult coronavirus patients, it was claimed today.
The procedures — which include biopsies to spot cancer and fracture repairs — were allegedly due to take place at hospitals in London and the Midlands. They were marked as ‘Priority 2’, which should be done within a month, or ‘Priority 3’, which must be completed within 12 weeks, according to the Health Service Journal.
The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) claimed ‘Priority 2’ ops were ‘increasingly being cancelled around the country’ because of high pressure from Covid.
‘This is obviously concerning and we need to return to normal operating and to increase capacity as soon as possible,’ said Eric Nicholls, a consultant paediatrician and member of the college. Hospitals have been under intense pressure during the pandemic, with the number of Covid inpatients this winter surging to around 35,000 in England alone — 80 per cent above the peak of the first wave.
The surging admissions led to whole wards being turned over to treat those suffering from the virus, with thousands of routine operations postponed because there were too few available. The chief of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, warned today it could take months for the health service to return to normal because doctors and nurses are exhausted.