Planned operations and appointments are starting to return at hospitals across the region as the pressure of Covid-19 reduces and hospital bosses are urging people to make sure they attend when requested.
Officials have been concerned recently that some people have put off health care out of worries about visiting a hospital during the pandemic and are keen to stress the safety measures in place.
Kevin McGee, Chief Executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, speaking on behalf of hospitals in Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “As we reintroduce our elective programme, which was put on hold as a result of the pandemic, we are reassuring patients that it is safe to come in for scheduled surgery.
“We are sensitive to those who are nervous about coming into a hospital during this time, but we can assure people the risk is extremely small. Hospitals are safe places and the earlier that patients come to hospital, the better the chances we have to treat their symptoms.
“For anyone coming in for surgery there are a number of extra measures now in place to ensure the safety of patients and staff. “Steps have been taken to isolate Covid-19 patients and make sure that the rest of the hospital is safe for other patients.
“Patients due for surgery are asked, in most cases, to self-isolate for two weeks before their operation and the hospitals are divided into Covid and non-Covid areas. The cleaning regimes in hospitals have been enhanced even further and infection prevention precautions have been escalated, while staff are also now being swabbed on a regular basis themselves to ensure they do not have the virus.
“We are concerned that some people are not coming into hospital for their treatments when they should. Those who choose not to seek medical treatment until their condition deteriorates considerably place themselves at greater risk. “If you do have to go to hospital, please be assured that it is safe – NHS staff are constantly taking measure to allow people to access care safely.”