Due to severe weather conditions and transport difficulties, NHS Lothian has cancelled all routine, non-urgent elective procedures and all hospital outpatient appointments today and tomorrow (Friday 2 March).
Emergency and urgent elective procedures will still go ahead. NHS Lothian will be prioritising urgent cancer surgery and patients are being contacted directly if their case is considered urgent.
An NHS spokesman said: “These decisions do not include community services. Please contact your local health centre or GP surgery to find out whether the adverse weather has affected your appointment.
“We apologise to the patients affected by these cancellations and will contact them to arrange alternative appointments as soon as possible.”
NHS Lothian is urging people who are unwell to use the NHS wisely and make full use of NHS 24, pharmacies and the self-help guides at www.nhsinform.scot to check symptoms.
The spokesman added: “We would urge patients to use these services rather than attending an Emergency Department, which is for serious injuries and major emergencies only. Patients in need will always be seen but it is important that clinical services always be prioritised to those who most urgently require it.
“Our staff have made heroic efforts to ensure the safe running of our services. Many worked late and stayed overnight while others have walked miles to report for duty this morning. We salute their commitment and thank them for their resilience.
“However we are requesting that off duty staff – particularly registered nurses – consider volunteering to work today to ease the pressures of today’s staff shortages. Staff able to work should call their manager to register their availability.”