Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Snow and Ice force hospital cancellations

The extreme weather has forced health bosses in Cumbria to cancel all non-emergency hospital appointments.

NHS North West told the BBC that staff were focusing on emergency cases and said it hoped patients would understand.

Even though the county has escaped the worst of recent snowfalls, more than 140 schools have been closed.

The Highways Agency said it had about six days of grit and salt left and that at the moment it was coping with road treatment operations.

Jane Cummings, director for nursing, quality, performance and commissioning at NHS North West, told the BBC: "At the moment our priority has to be to maintain patient safety and treat emergency and urgent cases.

"This may mean that some patients may experience a slight delay to some services, or that services are delivered in a slightly different way.

"Staff throughout the NHS are doing all that they can to ensure essential services continue to run efficiently.

"We can confirm that some hospitals across the region have taken the decision to postpone all non-essential out-patient appointments.

"If you have an out-patient or day-patient appointment scheduled for the next few days, please contact your hospital clinic and check whether any arrangements have been changed."

Mountain rescue teams have been drafted in to help the North West Ambulance Service, which is only responding to the most urgent calls.


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