Postponed Procedures FAQs

Updated March 2020

We have taken the difficult decision to postpone many non-urgent operations, procedures and outpatient appointments, to focus resources on caring for an expected increase in COVID-19 patients who require hospital care.

You can find answers to many frequently asked questions about the impact of this decision below.

How do I know if my treatment has been postponed?

We will contact every patient whose planned care procedure or appointment has been postponed. We would like to reassure patients that they do not need to contact the Health Board to find out if their procedure has been postponed.

How do you decide who gets postponed?

Surgical capacity across North Wales will be focused on patients in need of the most urgent care. This means that people in need of surgery for cancer, urgent emergency care, and ongoing emergency treatment or therapy, will be prioritised.

In addition, patients with a serious need for interventions will be prioritised as much as capacity allows.

We will continue to look at the capacity available to us, and continually assess our ability to treat as many patients as possible in a safe way.

What if my condition worsens?

In the first instance patients should make contact with their GP. Only dial 999 if it is a medical emergency. 

We are in the process of setting up a new service to help patients who have had their outpatient appointments postponed.  We will provide further information on this once it is established.

How will I find out when my treatment has been rescheduled?

We will maintain contact with all patients whose treatments are postponed, and provide an update as soon as a new date is available.

When will I find out if my procedure has been postponed?

Patients will be contacted to inform them of any change to their planned surgery or procedure from Thursday, March 19 onwards.

When will I find out when it's been rearranged for?

We are regularly reassessing the resources available to us, but during this period we will need to maintain flexibility in order to meet the changing demands that COVID-19 places on us. We are working as hard as we can to maximise the capacity available to us.

I have not received any information that my planned appointment has been postponed. What should I do?

You should continue to attend as arranged. We will contact every patient whose planned care procedure or appointment has been postponed.

I’ve already been waiting a long time for my treatment, isn’t that taken into account?

The time patients have waited since being referred for their treatment will be taken into account.

We know that there are many people expecting to undergo a procedure or examination over the coming weeks, who in some cases have already waited a long time. We are extremely sorry for any disruption, anxiety or discomfort this decision may cause. We will be doing all we can to prioritise patients in the most urgent need of care.

Also, I am worried and anxious, where should I go for help?

We understand that the current uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak is difficult and stressful. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing. The Mind mental health charity have published some useful advice to help you cope.

The free and confidential all Wales C.A.L.L Helpline and website offers emotional support and information on mental health, including a comprehensive list of support services in your local area and information on how to access them.

Anyone concerned about their own mental health or that of a relative or friend can either access the C.A.L.L Helpline website, call the freephone telephone number on 0800 132 737 (24 hrs a day – 365 days a year) or text ‘CALL' to 81066.

Please also read the advice provided by our Public Health Team on how to protect your mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

I am receiving treatment for cancer – will this stop?

This will depend on the type of treatment you are receiving. The team responsible for your care will make contact with you directly.  You do not need to contact them.

What about my medication? Will this be affected?

In the first instance, please phone your local pharmacist or GP for advice. These healthcare professionals are responsible for the management of medicines.

I want to make a complaint about this, what do I need to do?

Our management of postponed procedures during the COVID-19 outbreak is based on guidance from national bodies and the Welsh Government. We understand and apologise for any disruption, anxiety or discomfort these decisions may cause.

If you would like to make a complaint, you can find further guidance on the Health Board website.