OUTPATIENT services have been reduced at Westmorland General due to the coronavirus pandemic.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) announced that it would trim back the short-term services across its hospitals "to keep patients and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic".

UHMBT’s outpatient sites remain open but they will offer a limited service.

Outpatient appointments and conversations will be held over the phone or through video links to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Our outpatient appointments will be delivered in new ways while we are managing the COVID-19 pandemic," said Foluke Ajayi, chief operating officer for UHMBT.

“Unfortunately we have had to cancel some appointments and other patients have been transferred to telephone appointments. From Monday March 30 we will see a mix of patients who are required to attend an appointment in person and some other urgent patients will receive a telephone consultation.This will be determined by the patient’s clinician.

"Patients who do not fall into this category will have their existing appointment postponed.

“We wish to apologise to our patients and their families for any disruption.

"But, as the current situation is unprecedented, we felt it was imperative to reorganise our outpatient services to keep as many people as possible safe and well. We are grateful for the understanding, patience and cooperation of our patients and our staff as we are working through this challenging time.”