FRIMLEY Health NHS Foundation Trust has appealed for staff to work extra shifts to cope with demand this winter - just hours after a visit by the Prime Minister Theresa May.
The PM visited Frimley Park Hospital on Thursday last week and met with patients and staff in the hospital foyer, emergency department and ambulatory care units, thanking them for their “massive efforts at this time of heightened pressure”.
She also apologised to the tens of thousands of people affected by NHS England’s decision that hospitals should postpone non-urgent operations and outpatient clinics until the end of January to help hospitals cope with the surge in demand for care - but added the NHS was “better prepared” than ever this winter.
South West Surrey MP and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has also apologised for the cancellations, which have not yet affected Frimley Park.
Theresa May told Sky News during her visit: “I recognise that it is difficult for people who are facing delays. I recognise that it is difficult if someone is delayed on their admission to hospital, or if somebody has an operation postponed. And we will hope to ensure that those operations can be reinstated as soon as possible.
“I know it’s difficult, I know it’s frustrating, and I know it’s disappointing for people, and I apologise.”
Despite NHS England’s recommendation, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust says “as yet” it has not postponed any outpatient and non-urgent elective (planned) procedures and surgeries.
A spokesman told The Herald: “We are extremely busy like everywhere else and the situation is being kept under constant review but so far we are continuing as planned. We’re asking people to turn up for appointments unless we contact them directly otherwise.”
However, in the immediate aftermath of the PM’s visit the trust did post an appeal for available nursing and medical staff to take on “extra shifts this week or next”.
“Everyone has been working hard to meet recent demands on services so we would like to thank all of you for your contribution,” it said via the trust’s Facebook page.
And responding to the PM’s visit, Frimley Health later added: “It was really good to welcome PM Theresa May to Frimley Park earlier. She answered a lot of questions from staff and heard about what we and our local health and care partners have done to plan for tough weeks like these.
“Whatever your politics, it was really motivating for staff to receive her thanks in person.”