NHS hospitals advised to delay non-urgent care


But as other hospitals have reported scenes of growing chaos, with some patients facing 12-hour waits, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said they are not routinely cancelling all non-urgent procedures or appointments as per the national advice despite a rise in patient numbers in recent weeks.

Authorities have told hospitals to defer routine outpatient appointments and focus on emergencies, the BBC reports.

The Trust says that staff responded to calls for extra hands over the Christmas and New Year period, with many putting festivities on hold to help treat patients and take the pressure off colleagues.

Cancer operations and procedures that are time-critical will continue as usual, officials emphasized.

Nearly every hospital in England has dangerously few free beds, doctors warned last night, with many so full in the run-up to Christmas the sight of patients on trolleys in draughty corridors has become routine.

Patients across the United Kingdom have had to cancel non-urgent treatments until the end of the month according to NHS England.

"We're saying actually we want to do this in a measured, structured way so we set up an independent group of very senior doctors who look at the latest information, the pressures in the system, what's happening with flu and so on".

There would also be more resources for ambulatory care and clinics as alternatives to hospital admissions, and a twice-daily review of all patients to facilitate discharge.

"The cost of the specialist team support is being met through funding released by the Department of Health to help meet the increased urgent care pressures over the winter".

NHS England has also announced that sanctions for mixed-sex accomodation breaches will be temporarily lifted, with current NHS rules stating men and women should be treated on different wards.

Labour's shadow health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth said: "Tory underfunding and cuts have left our health service more vulnerable than ever before".

"The NHS needs to take further action to increase capacity and minimise disruptive last-minute cancellations".

The biggest earners in NHS England include chief financial officer Paul Baumann on £210,000, followed by national director for operations and information Matthew Swindells on £205,000.

"Short-term fixes, however well meaning, will only get us so far".

The hospital said that it had been "extremely busy".

"But I recognize for those people that have had their operations postponed this is disappointing, it's frustrating".

"Objectively, the NHS's performance and offer to patients are stronger now than they were 15 years ago or more, but the experiences of patients at times like this do not reflect that".