Outpatient appointments at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital have been suspended for two weeks from today due to COVID-19.
North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospitals, has announced it has suspended the appointments, unless it is urgent.
The trust said: “As the number of patients with COVID-19 continues to increase, the difficult decision has been made to suspend outpatient clinics.
“Urgent appointments will still go ahead and will be assessed on a case by case basis.
“This will be for a period of two weeks and reviewed on a weekly basis. This will enable us to redeploy medical staff to the wards where extra support is required at this time.
Dr Rod Harpin, medical director at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “In the last week, we have seen a doubling of patients with COVID-19 being admitted into our hospitals and we are expecting this to increase in the coming weeks.
“Combined with the fact that many of our staff are having to self-isolate, this brings challenges in delivering our normal services. It is for that reason; we have taken the difficult decision to begin to stand down some routine services including all non-urgent outpatient clinics; and to redeploy staff from these services to assist in maintaining core and emergency services across our hospitals.
“We realise this can be distressing for patients awaiting appointments; however, this decision has been made to prioritise the safety and healthcare needs of our patients.
“We will endeavour to restart all services as soon as it is safe to do so and will continue to share regular updates. We thank all of our patients for their co-operation at this time.”
The trust is contacting all patients affected, so patients are not required to contact the trust.
People who have not been told their appointment is cancelled or is invited to attend, the trust says do so.