NON-urgent operations and outpatient appointments at north Hampshire's hospitals have been postponed as winter stresses hit the NHS.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, and Andover War Memorial Hospital, said: “Like many trusts across the country at the moment, our hospitals continue to be very busy, with lots of people requiring treatment from our hard-working staff.

"To help us deal with the pressures we are currently facing, and in line with the recommendations issued by NHS England, we have postponed many non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments until further notice.

"This is not a decision we have taken lightly and these will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

“All patients affected by this will be notified in advance of their appointments, so if you have not been contacted, please attend as usual. I’d like to apologise for the inconvenience that this will cause.

“We are working closely with our partners at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Hampshire County Council, North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group and West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group to help ensure that patients are able to leave hospital as soon as they are well enough to do so, which allows us to admit patients from our emergency departments.

“Despite all of these measures, we expect that our services will remain under considerable pressure for some time.

"I’d ask people to help us by only using our emergency departments when strictly necessary.

"If you are unsure which NHS service you require, call 111 for advice.”