Patients are having their day and elective surgeries postponed because of the impact Omicron is having on services at Guernsey's hospital.
Day surgery and elective inpatient procedures have been cut because of a staff shortage at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital caused by the wave of infection gripping the Bailiwick.
Health and Social Care says the Critical Care Unit is under significant pressure. It is running two units - one for Covid-19 patients and one for non-Covid-19 patients.
The department said, as of Wednesday 5 January, there were two in the former unit having Covid-related treatment, and that all seven beds in the latter unit were full.
HSC says it has taken the decision to reduce surgeries this week to 'maintain a safe level of care for patients in the CCU and across the inpatient wards', adding that many elective operations require a CCU bed to be available for post-operative care.
It says services are 'very stretched' but it is not in the position of many NHS Trusts in the UK, which have declared critical incidents.
"...postponing elective surgery is not a decision that we take lightly. We know that it is extremely frustrating for patients who have been
waiting for a procedure and have made arrangements with employers, family, and friends etc.
However, it is essential that we maintain a safe level of care for all patients in the PEH which means often these tough decisions must be made. The impact of the current wave of Omicron has meant that bank/agency staff are already being used to cover isolation requirements for those staff who have COVID-19 or who are a close contact. This means we have fewer resources available to cover an already stretched healthcare system." - Dermot Mullin, Director of Operations
Hospital bosses are asking anyone visiting the PEH or other medical settings to take a Lateral Flow Test beforehand.
"We have had one incident this week with someone who would not verify their LFT status and on testing was found to be positive. This puts the service at risk of transmitting the virus to patients or staff and ultimately put acute services under added pressure. Visiting will be kept under daily review and if similar incidents increase the difficult decision of stopping visiting may be necessary."
fewer resources available to cover an already stretched healthcare system."