Northern Ireland news

Covid crisis deepens as Belfast trust postpones orthopaedic surgery

Belfast trust said it was essential to postpone surgery to "ensure safe staffing levels"

Belfast health trust has postponed non-time critical orthopaedic surgery due to "significant pressures" facing the health system and the recent rise in Covid-19 admissions.

All patients affected will be notified of their postponement by phone and will be offered a rescheduled date as soon as possible.

Currently Belfast trust is caring for 71 Covid-19 inpatients.

Medical director Chris Hagan said: "We would like to apologise to those patients and families affected by this decision, it is not one we wanted to make and we appreciate the anxiety it will cause.

"However, this is the only way we can ensure safe staffing levels for patients who are most acutely ill, whilst allowing regional complex surgery to continue at Belfast City Hospital."

"In addition we have identified that 60% of patients admitted with Covid-19 symptoms are not vaccinated. It is therefore vital that everyone eligible receives the vaccination as soon as possible by using the booking system or calling into one of the many drop-in centres this weekend."

The news comes as a further 1,337 cases of Covid-19 were reported, the Department of Health said.

One further death of a patient who had previously tested positive for the virus has been notified.

This morning, there were 163 Covid-19 positive patients in hospital, with 16 in intensive care.

In total 2,195,815 vaccines have been administered.

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