Hundreds of operations and healthcare procedures cancelled in Hartlepool during ‘Delta surge’ summer months

Hundreds of operations and other healthcare procedures were delayed in Hartlepool during the summer’s so-called Delta surge, The Mail has discovered.

Monday, 6th September 2021, 4:45 am

Statistics obtained by The Mail under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) point to hundreds of medical procedures being called off at Hartlepool’s main NHS trust during June and July.

Yet North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, which runs the University Hospital of Hartlepool, insists the situation has now “eased”.

While Hartlepool was less severely impacted by the Covid-19 Delta variant than other areas of the North East, 206 elective operations were cancelled or postponed at the trust in June while another 242 were pushed back in July.

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University Hospital of Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Eight non-emergency surgeries were also postponed or cancelled in June and seven in July.

According to the trust, no cancer operations were cancelled.

But nearly 500 surgeries were postponed or cancelled overall during June (214) and July (249).

The figures show 1,806 people were awaiting vital MRI scans while 402 patients were waiting on CT scans.

Deepak Dwarakanath, the trust’s medical director.

Meanwhile, 2,194 were waiting on non-obstetric ultrasound scans, 360 were awaiting DEXA scans and 748 were waiting for echocardiography scans.

More than 500 people are waiting for endoscopies at the trust.

Deepak Dwarakanath, the trust’s medical director, said: “Earlier in the summer, the organisation faced a number of pressures caused by a spike in cases of Covid-19, linked to the Delta variant.

“Due to a rise in the number of patients under our care as well in the number of staff self-isolating, we made the difficult decision to postpone some non-urgent operations and procedures.

University Hospital of Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

“Thankfully, this pressure has eased and we have been able to resume some of these non-urgent treatments but at a reduced number.”

He added: "Over this time, our staff and teams have worked tirelessly to ensure those in the greatest need have always had the care they needed and we are working through any backlog created by disruption.

“I want to reassure our community that patient safety is our utmost priority and that any decision we make is always with this in mind.

“I would also like to appeal to the our public to continue to support us by remaining cautious, adhering to the good hand hygiene habits we have followed and by making sure you have had your vaccine.”

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