THE INCREASE in coronavirus cases has meant that the Royal Berkshire Hospital is pausing non-urgent operations for the next fortnight, apart from cancer, urgent care and endoscopy procedures.
Only the Royal Berkshire Hospital is affected by the decision, made on New Year’s Eve – its other sites remain open.
The Royal Berkshire NHS Healthcare Trust which runs the hospital said that this was due to national requests to pause elective work and redeploy staff to other key service areas.
Despite the additional pressures caused by the increase in positive cases, RBH staff are keen to reassure people that the site is under control and managing ‘hot and cold’ areas to help manage demand.
A spokesperson said in a statement: “The situation is being monitored regularly to ensure patients and staff are kept safe and infection control measures are followed.
“We are working hard to ensure safety for all patients and if you are invited for a planned appointment, it is absolutely safe to do so and we are here and want to help.”
Restrictions remain on visiting to protect staff and patients, but might be permitted in exceptional circumstances and with prior agreement with the ward manager.
The spokesperson said: “We appreciate this may be difficult for families, and encourage people to forward cards and letters to patients via the PALS team who will arrange delivery.
“In some cases, there are also phone and virtual visits that can be accommodated and these can be organised with the ward manager.”
They added: “You can help by reminding friends, family and people attending hospital of the importance of the hands, face and space rules and remember to stick to these rules yourselves.
“There are a range of alternative healthcare options available including the Walk-in Centre, GPs, pharmacist and NHS online, where appropriate. If you are feeling unwell and are not sure which service you need, contact NHS 111 for advice.
“It’s important we do all we can to ease pressure on our services and teams so we are able to treat those in most need of urgent care.”
The Trusts’s other venues are West Berkshire Community Hospital in Thatcham, Townlands in Henley and Prince Charles Eye Unit in Windsor.