Millions of operations are being postponed, patients urgently discharged from hospital and private operators called in to help the NHS cope with the coronavirus crisis. The moves are intended to help the already overstretched health service manage the “intense pressure” that the growing epidemic will put on it by leaving large numbers of people struggling to breathe. Hospitals in England have been told to postpone all non-urgent elective operations from 15 April at the latest, for a period of at least three months. Emergency surgery and cancer operations will still go ahead, however. Millions of patients will have to wait longer than planned for procedures such as a cataract removal, hernia repair or hip or knee operations, with 700,000 people a month usually undergoing some form of non-urgent surgery. NHS England hopes the measures will free up 30,000 hospital beds – about 30% of the 100,000 total – which can be used for patients left seriously unwell with Covid-19. Hospital bosses said the unprecedented changes would disappoint patients but were needed, given the scale of the threat. “This is sensible. Trusts need to increase bed capacity to deal with the added pressures of coronavirus,” said Chris Hopson, the chief executive… Read full this story
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