Health bosses' Volcano assurances

Hospital bosses have reassured patients they are attempting to maintain “normal health services” in the coming days amid the volcanic ash chaos.Some doctors, nurses and practitioners - as well as patients - are stuck overseas, which has led to a small number of appointments and operations being cancelled in Norfolk.

Hospital bosses have reassured patients they are attempting to maintain “normal health services” in the coming days amid the volcanic ash chaos.

Some doctors, nurses and practitioners - as well as patients - are stuck overseas, which has led to a small number of appointments and operations being cancelled in Norfolk.

Yesterday afternoon staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital held an emergency meeting about the situation and said they will be reviewing what is happening on a daily basis.

An N&N spokesman said: “The disruption to travel has resulted in a few of our staff being unable to get to work and as a result a small number of patient services have been affected.

“Patients who are unable to get back to the UK can rebook their hospital appointment for another time. There are no current or anticipated difficulties in obtaining hospital supplies or drugs. Most NHS supplies are moved by sea, rail or road and whilst we will keep the situation under review we do not foresee any difficulties.”

All hospitals have emergency plans in place to deal with unforeseen circumstances and they are now operating in all hospitals in the region.

Most Read

A spokesman for the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, said some staff were stuck abroad but services were not affected and “patient care was safeguarded”.

Dr Geoff Hunnam, medical director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Kings Lynn, said: 'We have a number of staff stranded overseas and we are currently assessing the impact on our services.

“All hospital departments have emergency plans to deal with situations where key staff are unavailable, and we are managing to maintain normal services.”

At least 11 members of staff from NHS Norfolk out of a total workforce of 392 who were due to return home from annual leave remain out of the country due to the current restriction on flights.

Shamsher Diu, consultant in public health at NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said services were largely unaffected but he was still issuing precautionary advice to people.

“We did not see any major health impacts over the weekend but we are still telling people to be careful, especially if they have any bronchial or lung conditions,” he said. “If you see or smell the ash then it is best to stay indoors. We are constantly monitoring and researching the situation and will let people know when anything gets worse.”

NHS Blood and Transplant, a national organisation which facilitates and organises transplants for patients across the country, said there were no problems with operations at present.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter