Covid suspends routine procedures in Dumfries and Galloway

Credit: ITV News / PA

Health bosses at the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary have insisted they are able to cope, despite suspending some routine procedures.

The hospital says there has been a 'significant rise' in Covid-19 admissions, so the health board has taken the 'difficult decision' to postponed non-urgent, non-cancer procedures.

Stranraer currently has the highest coronavirus infection rate than any other Scottish town. On Monday, the First Minister and Chief Medical Officer reiterated that 'staying at home' is best way to stop spread.

Dr Kenneth Donaldson, NHS Dumfries & Galloway, told ITV Border: "I think we're still at the critical stage. The numbers have gone up slightly over the weekend, but it's too early to say if we're starting to see any signs of improvement.

"We're stil under a lot of pressure and the system is very busy. Our critical care unit has a significant number of patients with Covid, as do a number of our general wards.

"So, it's busy and the system is tight but we are managing to cope at the time being."

Credit: PA

Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership Chief Officer Julie White said: “Decisions to suspend services are never taken lightly, and we have held off as long as it was safely judged to do so before implementing these actions. 

“To be very clear in respect of planned healthcare procedures, this is not a complete suspension. Our goal is to preserve our ability to undertake procedures deemed urgent by our clinical teams and to ensure that patients with cancer continue to receive timely treatment and support.   

“Where possible, however, we are halting non-urgent clinical appointments for outpatients, day surgery and theatres in order to ensure we have the capacity to provide immediate help to those in most need.   

“Patients can be assured that our clinical teams will assess our referrals to ensure that those most in need of urgent care are prioritised.  We will keep these measures under review and will aim to get routine work back up and running as soon as is safe to do so. 

“Although our hospitals are facing pressures around capacity, we are managing this situation – with contingency plans in place to increase capacity as required.”