Covid fears ‘deterring people from undergoing hospital treatment’

Fears of catching Covid have led some patients at a leading hospital to miss treatment.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 10:04 am

The Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford, which treats patients from Horsham as well as Surrey, is now calling on people to make sure they dom’t put off having operations.

Hospital staff say that some patients are refusing treatment because of their fears over Covid-19

The hospital continued to treat patients with cancer and urgent medical conditions throughout the peak of the pandemic but some other routine operations were halted.

Patients are being urged to keep their appointments for surgery
Patients are being urged to keep their appointments for surgery

Hospital chief executive Louise Stead says that all the hospital’s operating theatres are now ‘running at full speed.’

And she’s asking patients to help speed up its services as quickly as possible by taking up appointments when they are offered.

Her plea follows reports from staff that some patients are refusing treatment due to difficulties of self-isolating, before or after treatment, and because of safety fears around Covid-19.

More than 200 patients on the elective surgical waiting list are now delaying surgery.

She said: “We are on a mission to see non-urgent patients as quickly as possible and give people the treatment they need at the earliest opportunity.

“Please help us by taking up appointments when we offer them.

“We understand that family and work commitments, combined with the complexities of self-isolating, can make it hard to schedule surgery but we need our community to put their health first whenever they can.

“If our patients delay appointments, our staff spend extra hours trying to fill these spaces.

“We need our theatres and our fantastic team of surgeons to work at full capacity to help all our patients who are waiting for life-changing treatment.”

At the outbreak of the pandemic, Royal Surrey says it implemented many safety measures that remain in place, such as one-way systems in the hospital and drive-through services to aid social distancing and limit footfall.

Staff wear appropriate PPE and are asked to take lateral flow tests for Covid-19 twice a week, while patients are asked to wear face coverings in the hospital.

Hospital clinical risk group spokesman Sam Huddartsaid: “We know that our patients worry about coming in to hospital, but I want to reassure our community that we do everything possible to limit this risk.

“Thanks to our purpose built Covid-19 isolation unit, we are currently able to treat Covid-19 patients away from the main hospital site.

“Our teams are committed to patient safety and work very hard to provide the best possible experience for everyone in our care.”