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Hospitals restart more treatments, with 75,000 patients on waiting lists

PUBLISHED: 13:50 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:50 21 May 2020

Norfolk's three hospitals are restarting more non-coronavirus services again. Picture: Archant

Norfolk's three hospitals are restarting more non-coronavirus services again. Picture: Archant

Archant

Norfolk’s three hospitals will start seeing more routine patients again after some services were halted because of coronavirus.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) and The Queen Elizabeth in King’s Lynn (QEH) have continued to treat people with life-threatening conditions, such as cancer, during the pandemic.

But thousands of non-emergency procedures have been delayed. There were just under 75,000 patients waiting to start treatment at Norfolk’s hospitals in March.

Before coronavirus struck, some patients were already waiting a year for operations and the NNUH warned in November that long waits were pushing its services to “unrecoverable” positions.

On Thursday the hospitals said that patients were likely to have to wait longer than usual, and carrying out treatments would depend on any future coronavirus outbreaks.

David Savory from Acle had his hip operation delayed because of coronavirus but said the NHS had been David Savory from Acle had his hip operation delayed because of coronavirus but said the NHS had been "fantastic". Photo: David Savory

But patients at the top of some waiting lists are now being contacted.

David Savory, from Acle, was meant to have a hip operation in March but that was delayed because he had a chest infection which made him vulnerable.

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“The NHS has been absolutely fantastic with me,” the 64-year old said. “The surgeon rang me up to tell me why they couldn’t do the March operation and to tell me I was priority.”

He has been isolated in his house for six months as he is unable to get over the step at his front door.

The NNUH plans to reopen its Day Procedure Unit and do some endoscopy by the end of May.

Meanwhile, the QEH has restarted orthopaedic operations and the JPUH has begun some operations too.

All hospitals have created zones to separate patients who have coronavirus symptoms from those who do not.

Chris Cobb, chief operating officer at the NNUH, said: “We’d like to thank the people of Norfolk and Waveney for their ongoing support and understanding during these challenging times.”

Anna Hills, chief executive of the JPUH, said: “Our detailed planning will maximise flexibility and enable us to treat those patients that need it, including delivering their planned care.”

Denise Smith, chief operating officer at the QEH, said: “Covid-19 has seen us introduce, at pace, a host of innovations to support patient care and experience, including using video and telephone technology to hold virtual outpatient appointments.”


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