North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust is suspending most outpatient appointments unless it is urgent.
As the number of patients with COVID-19 continues to increase in the trusts hospitals, the difficult decision has been made to suspend outpatient clinics at the Cumberland Infirmary, West Cumberland Hospital and community sites from Friday January 8.
Urgent appointments will still go ahead and will be assessed on a case by case basis. This will be for a period of two weeks and reviewed on a weekly basis.
This will enable the NCIC to redeploy medical staff to the wards where extra support is required at this time.
Dr Rod Harpin, Medical Director at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “In the last week, we have seen a doubling of patients with COVID-19 being admitted into our hospitals and we are expecting this to increase in the coming weeks.
“Combined with the fact that many of our staff are having to self-isolate, this brings challenges in delivering our normal services.
“It is for that reason; we have taken the difficult decision to begin to stand down some routine services including all non- urgent outpatient clinics; and to redeploy staff from these services to assist in maintaining core and emergency services across our hospitals.
“We realise this can be distressing for patients awaiting appointments; however, this decision has been made to prioritise the safety and healthcare needs of our patients.
“We will endeavour to restart all services as soon as it is safe to do so and will continue to share regular updates. We thank all of our patients for their cooperation at this time.”
The Trust is contacting all patients affected, so patients are not required to contact the Trust.
If a patients has not been told their appointment has been cancelled, or they are invited to attend, they are recommended to do so as this means their case will have been assessed and the staff would like to see them.