NHS Highland to revert to focussing on most vital services because of Covid pressures
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NHS Highland chiefs have said the service is now having to go back to focussing on critical cases, emergency admissions and cancer care because of the unprecedented pressures being faced.
They are appealing to the public for their support and understanding at a time when staffing levels are also being hit by Covid cases and the requirements to self-isolate.
They have said that non-acute appointments could be postponed because of the challenges and appreciate this could cause concern amongst some patients.
But they are asking for understanding as they protect 'the most vital of our services during this time'.
Dr Boyd Peters, NHS Highland’s Medical Director, said: “Our entire health and social care teams are working harder than ever to ensure we continue to deliver health and social care to people across Highland, Argyll and Bute.
“The pressure on services is unprecedented and is exacerbated by an increased prevalence of Covid-19.
"The current levels of infection in our communities are impacting on our staff availability either due to test and protect isolation requirements or due to illness.
"Our capacity to deliver the full range of services is becoming more challenging each day.
“We have to move back to a position where we protect the most vital of our services.
"This begins with critical care, emergency admissions and cancer care. Unfortunately, this means that people awaiting care out with these groups are likely to have a longer wait than any of us would wish.
“We understand that this may cause anxiety and upset among patients who have been waiting for operations, and we never make any decision to postpone surgery lightly.
"We apologise to all patients who we have had to reschedule for their operation.
“We hope the public understand the position we find ourselves in. Our colleagues are working so hard to ensure the people who have the greatest level of need receive the care and support they require.
"We have explored options for mutual aid to relieve some of the pressure on the system, however, these pressures are being felt across the wider NHS Scotland services."
Dr Peters added: “Our workforce has been very flexible in responding to the demands the services have been managing over recent weeks and months.
"We are extremely grateful to them for their ongoing hard work and delivery of high-quality patient care, and we know the vast majority of the public share our gratitude to them.”