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Eleven further Covid-related deaths in NI as cancer surgeons raise concerns over cutback of treatments

hospital scan

There have been 11 further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Wednesday).

Nine of these occurred in the last 24 hours and two outside that time – according to the official dashboard – which has the overall total now at 889.

There were a further 518 cases reported in that timeframe, with 51 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon and a further 47 in Newry, Mourne and Down.

A total of 3,276 individuals were tested.

There are 452 people now in hospital – that’s three more than Tuesday – as a result of the virus, 44 of whom are in intensive care units – the same as yesterday. There are currently 25 ICU beds available in NI.

Sixty-six patients are in Craigavon today – five more than yesterday. To date, 548 patients have been discharged from the Co. Armagh hospital.

There are 13 – up three – Covid patients in Daisy Hill in Newry and a further 12 – up one – in Lurgan Hospital.

Meanwhile, NI cancer surgeons have expressed their concern at cutback of treatments because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement the Northern Ireland Regional Cancer Surgical group said: “[We] support Minister Swann in acknowledging that the care of people waiting for treatment with other serious conditions, such as cancer, is being delayed as a direct result of the continued impact of Covid-19 on hospitals.

“As cancer clinicians we will always do our best to ensure that we can provide patients with the best possible care at this extremely difficult time in their lives. However, at present, large numbers of specialist theatre and intensive care staff are caring for patients with Covid, and as a result we have had to cut back on diagnostic surgical procedures and surgical cancer treatments.

“We very much recognise the anxiety and the very real impact this has on patients and their families, and it is also a matter of great regret and distress to everyone working in the health service. We would assure patients that their cases will be prioritised for re-scheduling as soon as possible.

“All of this starkly reinforces the urgent and continued need to drive down the infection rate in the community in order to decrease the number of people in hospital with Covid-19. This will allow specialist staff to resume their essential cancer work.

“The Northern Ireland Regional Cancer Surgical Group fully appreciates the incredibly difficult dilemmas facing NI political leaders. We would urge them to do everything they can to drive down Covid infection rates and keep them low.

“Northern Ireland must not prolong the period where so many of our specialist staff are unavailable for cancer surgery.

“The impact of this will be continued delays in cancer diagnosis, delays in surgical treatment, more suffering for cancer patients, and may risk more untimely deaths from cancer.

“The Regional Cancer Surgical group also appeal to the public to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus by following the public health advice to reduce our contacts with others, keep our distance, wear a face covering, wash our hands and keep to the Covid regulations.”

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