Flooding in Cumbria is continuing to affect health services across the region, with limited operations going ahead and cancellations to routine appointments in community, mental health and children’s services.
NHS England said yesterday that services in the region were being “gradually restored” and that the “vast majority” of patients were able to continue to access them.
“Staff are prioritising patients for visits and have been able to reach those requiring urgent attention with assistance from mountain rescue”
However, due to severe disruption caused by flooding over the weekend many hospitals and community services are still offering limited services, according to trusts in the area.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said it was still only able to offer its essential and urgent services, adding that it was making use of mountain rescue teams in some cases to reach patients.
Dr Andy Brittlebank, medical director at the trust, said: “Unfortunately all routine appointments for community services, mental health services and children’s services remain cancelled and this will be reviewed by tomorrow morning.”
“Staff are prioritising patients for visits according to need and have been able to reach those requiring urgent attention with assistance from mountain rescue where required. Community mental health teams and crisis teams are continuing to keep in contact with vulnerable adults to ensure they are safe,” he added.
“Staff are working tirelessly to ensure patients are well looked after”
North Cumbria University Hospital Trust
Meanwhile, outpatient clinics at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust’s Queen Victoria Hospital have been cancelled due to power concerns.
Its Royal Lancaster Infirmary is offering limited surgery and most outpatient appointments are running as normal, and services at Westmorland General Hospital were back to normal yesterday, said the trust.
A spokesman for the trust said its hospitals were coping as well as could be expected.
“We would like to take this opportunity remind patients to only use the hospital’s emergency departments in the event of an emergency so that our staff can continue to focus on those seriously ill patients that need urgent attention,” he said.
At North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, all non-urgent operations remain cancelled at both West Cumberland Hospital and Cumberland Infirmary.
The trust said power had now been restored to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, after it was forced to run on generators following problems at an electric substation due to the floods.
“We are pleased to see NHS services being gradually restored around the county”
Dr Craig Melrose
A trust spokeswoman said: “All patients are being safely cared for and staff are working tirelessly to ensure patients are well looked after – sincere thanks to all of our teams who have gone out of their way to offer support at such a difficult time.”
She said both hospitals remained “extremely busy” and that the organisation urged people to avoid attending emergency services expect in serious or life threatening cases.
NHS England Cumbria and the North East’s medical director, Dr Craig Melrose, said: “We are pleased to see NHS services being gradually restored around the county and would like to thank staff again for their continued support and commitment in ensuring patients receive treatment and care in these very difficult circumstances.
“We’re able to continue to provide access to services for the vast majority of patients and we would like to thank the public for their continued support,” he said.
The events serve as a reminder of the flooding in the south and west that took place in February 2014.