THE Western Trust is ‘hopeful’ that red flag cancer patients who had their treatments cancelled last week will now be rescheduled.
Last week, cancer surgeries and treatments were cancelled at all hospitals across the Trust due to the pressure put on services by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, from today, Monday January 25, the Trust is aiming to reschedule patients who had their surgeries cancelled last week.
The Western Trust said it was a ‘very difficult but necessary decision’ to postpone all red flag cancer services from last Monday, January 18.
‘Red flag’ surgeries or treatments aim to help with the patient’s recovery from cancer, or in some cases, save their lives.
The matter is being reviewed daily and the patients who have been impacted by the cancellations will be notified by the Trust.
Apologising for the cancellations, Mrs McKay said, “We would like to sincerely apologise to our patients, their families and carers for this difficult decision to postpone these treatments and surgery at this time.
“All affected patients are being contacted directly.
“As the region continues to see a rise in the number of patients admitted to our hospitals with Covid-19, our staff will be required to support the care of the increasing number of Covid-19 patients who may require intensive care or enhanced respiratory support over the coming weeks.
“This was an incredibly difficult decision to make.
“We do not underestimate the anxiety and distress this causes the patients and families affected and we deeply regret this,” said Mrs McKay.
Earlier this month, all routine elective inpatient, outpatient and day case surgeries throughout the Western Trust including Omagh Hospital were postponed until further notice.
Cancer patients in Tyrone would usually travel to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry for treatment and surgery however, health bosses previously warned that red flag services would be cancelled if more than 16 people needed critical care at Altnagelvin Hospital at any one time.
Mrs McKay continued, “The Trust will continue to provide emergency, trauma and some time-critical procedures.
“The decision to postpone all red flag cancer surgery will be closely monitored and reviewed regularly.
“We would like to reassure those patients that we will do everything in our power to reschedule their operation as soon as possible,” said Mrs McKay.