Winter pressures bring A&E delays at Surrey hospitals

Delays in accident and emergency and cancelled operations at two Surrey hospitals have been blamed on the winter.

Ashford and St Peter's NHS said the cold weather had led to more winter bugs, heart attacks, strokes and falls.

It said it had to put sickest patients first and urged people to be patient.

It said anyone who had been told their operation had been cancelled would be contacted again by the end of next week so their appointment could be rebooked.

The trust said it could not provide figures for the numbers of cancelled operations or the length of A&E waits at Ashford hospital and St Peter's hospital, in Chertsey.

Respiratory consultant Dr Michael Wood said dealing with emergencies and more seriously ill patients had led to longer delays for people with minor illnesses and less serious injuries.

The divisional director for emergency care said: "We don't do this without a great deal of thought and consideration, but clearly we have to put the safety and care of our sickest patients first, some of whom will have life threatening conditions."

He said no surgery had been cancelled for confirmed or potential cancer patients.

He added that every cancelled case would have been carefully considered to make sure a delay would not cause the patient any clinical harm.

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