Operations across NI for sick patients suspended - owing to staff shortages

A hospital bed
A hospital bed

Many non-emergency operations across Northern Ireland have had to be suspended - as a result of staff shortages.

It has been claimed that the move is a result of hospital theatres not being able to work at full capacity due to staff shortages.

Three out of NI's five trusts are affected. They are the Belfast, southern and western trusts.

According to the BBC there will be a knock-on effect on hospital waiting times which are expected to reach an all-time high by the end of November.

It is thought that figures could be close to or over 300,000 people waiting for a first time consultant led appointment, an all-time high in NI and across the UK.

In a statement a spokesman for the Southern Trust and Social Care Board said: "Our priority is to ensure that there are appropriate numbers of nurses with the appropriate level of skill in our theatres to keep our patients safe.

"The shortage of theatre nurses is having an impact on our theatres and regrettably we are not currently able to operate at full capacity.

"We have been left with no option but to temporarily suspend some surgical sessions. This reduction equates to the capacity of one theatre in Craigavon Area Hospital and a part reduction in capacity of a theatre in Daisy Hill Hospital. Emergency, red flag and urgent surgery is continuing as normal.

"We continue to do everything possible to recruit nursing staff for theatres.”