Poland urged to suspend planned hospital treatments amid COVID spike

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By Euronews  with AP
The crew of an ambulance works at a specialised COVID-19 hospital in Warsaw.
The crew of an ambulance works at a specialised COVID-19 hospital in Warsaw.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski - FILE

Poland's national health authority has urged the country to suspend planned medical procedures due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

The Polish National Health Fund (NFZ) said the temporary move could provide extra hospital beds for patients who require immediate attention during the pandemic.

But the authority has warned that all scheduled appointments should be assessed before being postponed.

"In order to provide additional hospital beds for patients requiring urgent admission to the hospital, the National Health Fund Headquarters recommends limiting to the minimum necessary or temporarily suspending the provision of scheduled services," the NFZ said in a statement on Tuesday.

The authority has however stated that appointments for the diagnosis or treatment of cancer and other tumours should not be affected.

"The limitation should not apply to scheduled diagnostics and treatment of neoplastic diseases," the statement added.

But planned hospital stays for surgery on large joints, major spine corrective treatments and coronary bypasses could be suspended or limited to the minimum.

"When limiting or suspending the provision of services, the adopted treatment plan and the high probability of the patient's stay in the anesthesiology and intensive care unit after the procedure should be taken into account," the authority added.

"In each case ... it is necessary to individually assess and take into account the conditions and risks related to the patient's health, as well as the probability of its deterioration and potential consequences."

Poland's health minister Adam Niedzielski has warned that the daily level of confirmed infections could rise to more than 18,000 this week.

Last week, the country's government announced plans to open temporary hospitals and impose partially localised lockdowns due to the rise in cases of COVID-19 variants.