Belfast Trust has announced it is postponing non-time critical elective orthopaedic surgery as a result of rising Covid admissions.
In a statement, the Trust said it had been a difficult decision but said all affected patients will be notified by phone and offered a rescheduled date as soon as possible.
It comes as one further death from coronavirus and a further 1,337 new positive cases were confirmed by the Department of Health on Friday.
Belfast Trust said it is currently caring for 71 Covid-19 inpatients as well as significant bed pressures across sites and an unprecedented number of patients attending Emergency Departments.
It’s hoped the latest decision to postpone surgeries will reduce pressure on bed capacity and ensure safe staffing levels across all sites.
Medical Director, Mr Chris Hagan said: “We would like to apologise to those patients and families affected by this decision, it is not one we wanted to make and we appreciate the anxiety it will cause.
“However, this is the only way we can ensure safe staffing levels for patients who are most acutely ill, whilst allowing regional complex surgery to continue at Belfast City Hospital.”
He also said that Belfast Trust identified that 60% of patients admitted with Covid-19 symptoms were not vaccinated.
“It is therefore vital that everyone eligible receives the vaccination as soon as possible by using the booking system or calling into one of the many drop in centres this weekend.”
He added that the regional complex surgery currently carried out at Belfast City Hospital remains unaffected and is still being protected as a green, or Covid-free, pathway.