THE number of patients receiving non-urgent surgery on bones and joints will be reduced as QA hospital gets ready for the busy wintertime.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, has notified GPs of the decision to slow down on patients having scheduled orthopaedic surgery.
The hospital says it will happen for up to six months.
It comes as QA hospital is getting ready for winter and one of its busiest times of the year.
In a letter sent to GPs in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas, PHT said: ‘We are not stopping elective orthopaedic surgery, however for a temporary period of time we are slowing down some non-urgent work.
‘We anticipate this will be for a short period of time only, and will be for a period of time up to six months.
‘This allows us additional capacity to meet the needs of our frail elderly patients during winter pressures.
‘We are utilising alternative bed capacity within the trust (and externally) to ensure that our elective programme continues, but at a slower rate than usual.’
As previously reported in The News QA Hospital has faced a number of challenges including having more than 200 patients considered medically-fit-for-discharge but stuck waiting in hospital.
They have also had to use beds in wards for patients coming through A&E who cannot be housed on the correct wards.
The PHT letter added: ‘We are taking this action to ensure the hospital trust is prepared for the challenges of winter.
‘In terms of urgent care, we are one of the most challenged systems in the country.
‘We need to be in the best position possible to meet all of our unscheduled care flow requirements, ensuring that the safety of patients is maintained at all times.
‘We particularly need to make sure that we have sufficient elderly care capacity to meet the anticipated increases in demand from our frail elderly patients.’
Councillor Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for public health and adult social care at Portsmouth City Council, said he understood the reasons behind PHT’s decision.
‘Given the winter pressures I can understand the rationale behind the hospital’s decision,’ he said.
‘But having a reduction in the orthopaedic surgery will have a big impact on people’s lives.
‘I am concerned about the operations being put back.’