Hospitals postpone operations to make more beds available to face the pandemic

An operation is performed in a public hospital. File photograph.
An operation is performed in a public hospital. File photograph. / SUR
  • Malaga's Regional and Clínico hospitals will give priority to urgent surgery and operations for cancer and heart patients

The explosive advance of the third wave of the pandemic has forced two of Malaga's major hospitals to suspend scheduled operations in order to make more beds available both on the wards and intensive care units (ICU).

The drastic measure has been launched as coronavirus infections have skyrocketed and the admission of patients with Covid has quadrupled in just over two weeks.

To make the most of resources and in the face of the avalanche of patient admissions caused by the virus both the Regional Hospital and the Clínico have said they will give priority to "urgent surgical operations and those of cancer patients or with heart ailments that must be resolved with surgery".

Health sources consulted by SUR said that there has been no choice but to postpone a series of non-urgent operations in the face of the situation that is experienced by the increase in income of patients with Covid.

This measure, which will continue until pressure on hospitals is relieved, will obviously increase the waiting list for routine operations but sources said, "As soon as possible, the people who have been affected will be operated on."

The postponement of non-urgent surgery also happened during the first wave of the pandemic, last March and April. But as of May the activity in the operating theatres was recovering.

During the second wave, in October and November, surgery was carried out as planned, since the volume of admissions of patients with the virus was lower.

Waiting lists

In the last update of the waiting list times issued by the Ministry of Health, corresponding to June 30, 2020, the people of Malaga waited 180 days on average to undergo surgery. On that date, there were 24,137 users on the surgery waiting list in Malaga compared to the 26,495 who were waiting for an operation at the end of 2019.

The data revealed that there were 2,358 patients fewer than six months ago, but with a longer delay; it went from an average of 146 days to 180.