Non-urgent operations delayed in Northwick Park until next month

Northwick Park Hospital

Northwick Park Hospital - Credit: Archant

Hospital chiefs in Northwick Park have said the “sickest patients” will be treated first in January as operations requiring an overnight stay are delayed.

The London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, (LNWUH) which covers Northwick Park, Central Middlesex and Ealing hospitals is following advice from NHS England to defer non urgent operations and outpatient appointments until January 31 due to severe winter pressures.

Sarah Cox, a health activist from Harlesden, said: “They are cancelling operations in advance so they don’t have to cancel them at the last minute. It’s appalling.

“We’ve had so many cuts in this area. Northwick Park is under enormous strain - it hasn’t reached any of its targets since Central Middlesex’s A&E was closed in 2014.”

She added: “This could have been avoided if they’d kept all local hospitals open and if the NHS was funded properly.”

Robin Sharp, chairman of Brent Patient Voice added: “The reason why Northwick Park is struggling is the unjustified closure of Central Middlesex A&E and the delays in discharging frail patients back into the community with adequate social care.”

Arshiya Khan, chief operating officer at LNWUH said Northwick Park’s A&E department received 120-130 ambulances a day, more than any other hospital in London. Last year, almost 60,000 patients arrived by ambulance to Northwick Park and Ealing hospitals.

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Se said: “We are experiencing sustained pressure due to the high number of people seeking emergency medical care, combined with a much higher number of frail older patients who require social support to be discharged from hospital.

“Our staff are a credit to the NHS and they are working tirelessly to see everyone in a safe and timely manner. As always, we will triage and treat the sickest patients first. This means some people may experience longer waits while we treat those most in need. Like the rest of the NHS we have rescheduled operations for those patients needing to stay overnight in a hospital bed in order to free up capacity for our sickest patients. Urgent, day case and cancer operations are going ahead.”

He urged people to only attend A&E for serious and life-threatening injuries and conditions only.

Dr Ethie Kong, chair of Brent clinical commissioning group (CCG), said: “Across the country, the NHS is under sustained pressure over the winter period and there is limited capacity to deal with increased demand.

“To address this issue, NHS England has advised deferring non urgent operations and outpatient appointments until January 31, but urgent treatment will go ahead as planned.

“Our advice to patients living in Brent, who need urgent help and are well enough to walk, drive or get public transport, is to attend the urgent care centre at Central Middlesex Hospital. The service is available 24/7,” Dr Kong added.

Anyone with concerns should call the NHS 111 service which is staffed 24 hours a day