PATIENTS going for planned operations at hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside are being urged to follow the rules to stay safe and ensure their procedures go ahead.

As elsewhere in the country, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust requires patients to follow comprehensive social distancing, hand-hygiene measures and self-isolation before arriving at hospital for elective procedures.

Where patients have not followed the rules, their procedures will not be able to go ahead as planned. Trust officials say this will result in a wasted surgery slots at a time when the trust is working incredibly hard to recover following the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Northumbria Healthcare has been one of the best-performing trusts in the country since last March, with a focus on innovation, day case surgery and making the best use of facilities, helping to keep waiting lists and times as short as possible.

More than 14,500 procedures or operations have been carried out during the pandemic, however, the pressure on staff, beds and equipment still meant some non-urgent care had to be postponed during what was an unprecedented time for the NHS.

Marion Dickson, the trust’s executive director of surgery, said: “Our teams are working as hard as possible to ensure patients can have the procedures they need in as timely a manner as possible, particularly following a period when some will have experienced unavoidable disruption.