Thousands of patients in Northern Ireland are to be affected this week as appointments have been cancelled across the Belfast Trust and South Eastern Health Trust.
Last Friday (29 November) the Belfast Trust, the largest health trust in Northern Ireland, announced that it had cancelled all outpatient appointments, day procedures and planned surgeries across its hospitals.
In the Belfast Trust, the hospitals affected are: the Royal Victoria Hospital, Children's Hospital, Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital, the City Hospital, Mater Hospital, Musgrave Park Hospital and the School of Dentistry located at the Royal.
In Belfast, the following hospitals will have all outpatient appointments, day case procedures and planned surgeries cancelled on Monday,Tuesday and Thursday:
- Royal Victoria Hospital (including the children's hospital, maternity hospital and school of dentistry) - Belfast City Hospital - Mater Hospital - Musgrave Park Hospital
Some outpatient appointments will still go ahead at the following in the Belfast Trust:
- Health and wellbeing centres - Community facilities - Chemotherapy or radiotherapy at the Bridgewater suite and cancer centre at Belfast City Hospital - Macular clinic at Fairview - Paediatric oncology at the Children's Hospital - Obstetrics and antenatal appointment at Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital
On Friday (6 December) appointments should proceed as normal. The Trust says appointments will be rescheduled and they’ve asked patients not to phone for another appointment.
Emergency services are not affected.
Belfast Trust says its “extremely”sorry for the disruption and distress this will cause patients and their families.
"The safety of our patients is our number one concern and regretfully we have had to take this decision," says the trust.
In the South Eastern area, all routine outpatient appointments at the Ulster Hospital have been cancelled on Wednesday, with the exception of maternity and children's services. On Monday catering and transport to and from all day centres are not available.
On Friday (6 December), outpatient departments at Ulster Hospital, Lagan Valley Hospital, Downe Hospital, Ards Hospital and Bangor Hospital will be closed in the afternoon.
All updates will be posted on the trusts' websites and social media channels.
Belfast Trust: http://www.belfasttrust.hscni.net/3240.htm
South Eastern Trust: http://www.setrust.hscni.net/4205.htm