Hospitals remain on emergency footing and health boss explains why

Health bosses say that services continue to experience “unprecedented levels of pressure across Lanarkshire” and have acted accordingly by pulling a number of operations again.

And increased Covid-19 cases and staff shortages owing to annual leave or self-isolation have been blamed.

Furthermore, locals are being urged to seriously consider whether attending an Accident and Emergency department is appropriate.

Heather Knox, NHS Lanarkshire chief executive explained: “We have seen exceptionally high numbers of people attending our emergency departments.

“Over recent weeks, we have seen higher numbers than we would normally see during the winter period.

"Our staff are struggling to cope.

“We would encourage people to seek advice from NHS inform or NHS 24 on 111 before they attend A&E.

“We have also seen an increase in the number of people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 and this is an additional pressure while we are trying to recover services and treat those patients who need our care; people who have planned operations which we are desperate to do.

"We also have staffing pressures as we currently have staff who are having to self-isolating due to contacts out of work.

“These combined pressures mean that we have had to take some difficult decisions.

"Unfortunately, we have had to cancel a small number of planned surgeries at University Hospital Wishaw.

"This is not a decision we take lightly and I would like to apologise for any upset caused.”

It also emerged that most of the new Covid-19 cases in Lanarkshire are in the 18 to 39-year-old age range and this has been reflected in the hospital inpatient numbers.

Miss Knox added: “I would encourage younger people, 18 to 39-year-olds, to protect themselves by maintaining physical distance from others, wear a face covering, take a regular lateral flow test and by getting vaccinated.”

NHS Lanarkshire has released more dates for patients who want to be vaccinated in Bellshill’s Sir Matt Busby Sports Complex thus avoiding a longer journey to the superhub in Ravenscraig.

Over-18s who have not have their first jab or have waited eight weeks or since being vaccinated can simply turn up with no invitation required.

Dr Mark Russell, Lead for the covid-19 vaccination programme in Lanarkshire said: “For convenience we have also added rebooking appointments on the same days as the drop-in clinics. This means that people can reschedule their booked appointment if it suits them better. People can also cancel their booked appointment and attend a drop-in clinic.”

The sessions will run from 9am to 5pm on Saturday, July 24, Sunday July 25, Monday, July 26 and Tuesday, July 22.

The superhub at Ravenscraig will continue to operate and will run from 12 noon until 7.30pm until Sunday, July 18 and hours are in fact set to increase.

From the following day, vaccinations will be available from 8.30am to 7.30pm in a continued quest to attend to as many patients as possible.

To enable this, a shuttle bus to the site will continue to be made available from Motherwell Station.

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