Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has asked health boards to detail their plans to increase capacity in hospitals ahead of the expected increase in the number of cases of COVID 19.
Ms Freeman (pictured) said:
“We have been clear from the outset about the challenges our health service is going to face in the weeks and possibly months to come.
“With our focus very much on seeking to delay the spread to reduce the peak impact and protect the most vulnerable, planning around NHS capacity is vital.
“We need to free up capacity in our hospital settings and increase where we can the capacity there and in the community.
“So, over the next 2 to 3 weeks we will scale down non-urgent care so non urgent procedures are postponed.
“But patients have our assurance that all appointments will be rescheduled as quickly as possible as we get through the challenge to our NHS that COVID-19 presents.
“As we work to double our intensive care capacity, some lead time is needed to repurpose facilities and ensure staff receive the training they need.
“In all of this work, our urgent and life critical services such as cancer will be maintained.
“When I return to Parliament on Tuesday I will make a further statement on COVID-19 and give more detail on our preparations.”