Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has hit out at the ‘unacceptable state of affairs’ which has led to hospital patients having planned operations cancelled.
The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed that all non-urgent planned operations will be cancelled for the next two weeks.
It really is an unacceptable state of affairsMike Hill MP
Cancer-related and time-critical procedures will go ahead as planned, but out-patient appointments could also be cancelled.
The move from the trust comes after NHS England told hospitals across the country they could delay operations until the end of the month because of winter pressures.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt have apologised to patients after it was estimated that up to 55,000 operations could be deferred across the country.
However, Mr Hill says the blame for the NHS ‘crisis’ is with the Government.
He said: “It is a very frustrating and worrying time for those people who have built themselves up to have an operation.
“In fact, only yesterday I met a lady whose planned operation for next week had been cancelled.
“I could see straightaway how stressed she was by it and the worry for her will continue for some time.
“It really is an unacceptable state of affairs.”
Mr Hill added: “The Government knew that the winter season would bring its difficulties for the NHS, and should have planned a lot better for it.
“They should have also properly prepared the NHS, which they have failed to do over the last seven years. They certainly should have started addressing the crisis in the shortage of doctors and nurses a long time ago.”
People have also been urged to only attend hospitals in emergency situations due to increased pressures on accident and emergency departments.
The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust posted on Facebook: “Following advice from NHS England, we have taken a number of urgent steps, which include cancelling all elective operations for the next two weeks except those that are cancer-related or time-critical and reviewing all outpatient clinics and cancelling appointments as appropriate for a two week period. We apologise to all patients who are affected, but we must focus all of our resources on the patients who are in the most urgent need of care.
“Can we please remind the public not to come into our emergency department unless it really is an emergency. If you are unsure you can call the NHS 111 service to speak to a trained call handler who can arrange for you to be seen by an out of hours GP service or call an ambulance if that’s what you need.”