Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland)
OPS DELAYED AS CASES RISE
» Belfast Trust acts over bed pressures » Plea for young people to get vaccines
BELFAST Trust is postponing a number of operations “due to the significant pressures” caused in part by Covid-19, it said yesterday.
A statement added it had “taken the difficult decision to delay non-time critical elective orthopaedic surgery”.
It comes after reports many of those being admitted to hospital with Covid-related illness are unvaccinated and a “rising number” are young or aged 20 to 39.
The Trust statement said the postponement is “due to the significant pressures facing the regional health system in addition to the recent rise in Covid-19 admissions”. It added: “All patients affected will be notified of their postponement by phone and will be offered a rescheduled date as soon as possible.
“Currently Belfast Trust is caring for 71 Covid-19 inpatients, in addition to significant bed pressures across our sites as we continue to provide care to an unprecedented number of patients attending through our Emergency Departments.
“This decision will relieve some pressure on our bed capacity and, most importantly, will ensure we can maintain safe staffing levels across the rest of our sites.”
Medical director Chris Hagan added: “We would like to apologise to those patients and families affected by this decision, it is not one we wanted to make and we appreciate the anxiety it will cause.
“However, this is the only way we can ensure safe staffing levels for patients who are most acutely ill, whilst allowing regional complex surgery to continue at Belfast City Hospital.
“In addition, we have identified 60% of patients admitted with Covid-19 symptoms are not vaccinated.
“It is therefore vital everyone eligible receives the vaccination as soon as
possible by using the booking system or calling into one of the many drop-in centres this weekend.
“The regional complex surgery currently carried out at Belfast City Hospital remains unaffected and we continue to protect that site as a green [Covid-free] pathway.”
Earlier yesterday, medical registrar Emma Keelan tweeted:
“To the 18% that haven’t had the first
Covid vaccine... the Mater is full with young [in 20/30s] critically unwell, unvaccinated Covid patients on ventilators who are now regretting their decision. Might be time for a rethink.
“The third wave is here and you are now the most vulnerable.” Also yesterday, it was reported four deaths linked to Covid occurred in Northern Ireland in the latest week to be analysed by statisticians.
The fatalities, in the week from July 10 to 16, took the total number of coronavirus-related deaths recorded by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency to 2,991.
The Department of Health daily update yesterday revealed there had been 1,337 positive cases and one death reported in the previous 24 hours. A total of 163 Covid patients were being treated across 26 Northern Ireland hospitals with 16 in ICU.
Meanwhile, just a third of Covid patients from July 10 to 17 had any vaccines to protect them against the virus. The Mirror revealed yesterday how Deputy First Minister Michelle O’neill said the majority of inpatients had not been vaccinated and were from younger age groups.
MLAS and health committee members Paula Bradshaw and Gerry Carroll called on the Department of Health to release the full figures after this publication was refused details.
The department has since confirmed the figure for July 10 to 17, but said more work is needed to ascertain the full picture.
A spokesperson added: “Work is ongoing on validation of information in relation to cases of Covid-19 who have required hospitalisation.”