Coronavirus: Cancer surgery halted to increase Manx intensive care capacity

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Nobles Hospital
Image caption,
The announcement follows the island's first admission of a coronavirus patient to intensive care

All elective and non-emergency cancer surgery on the Isle of Man has been cancelled after a coronavirus patient had to be admitted to intensive care, the health minister has said.

The patient, who David Ashford said was "stable and recovering slowly" in the intensive care unit (ICU), is one of two being treated at Noble's Hospital.

Stopping surgery was an "exceptionally difficult decision" but was needed to "maximise our ICU capacity", he added.

The island has 49 cases of the virus.

While two are being treated in hospital, the remaining 47 were self-isolating, Mr Ashford said.

At the government's daily briefing on the pandemic, he said the first ICU admission meant it was "now essential" to cancel all but emergency cancer surgery.

"We have held off doing this for as long as possible," he added.

"We must do this now as staff need to be retrained and changes made in the hospital."

Theatres at Noble's would now be "repurposed" to expand intensive care availability, he said, though the emergency theatre would remain operational.

He added that the action "has been taken on firm clinical advice and consultation with our clinical base and also public health, and we would be looking to support any cancer patients affected as best we can".

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