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A great-granddad found with a cancerous tumour the size of a tennis ball said his experience has shown him how Covid-19 has impacted the NHS.
Ron Sayle, from Frodsham, Cheshire, was diagnosed with liver cancer after he complained of feeling lethargic, and lifesaving surgery was planned for him at Aintree Hospital in Liverpool on September 25.
However medics were forced to cancel the op hours before it was due to take place because of the second wave of the virus resulted in a lack of intensive beds, Liverpool Echo reports.
The 79-year-old would have needed to spend a night in the ICU ward after surgery.
Mr Sayle, who has two children, had his surgery rescheduled for another date and nearly a fortnight later he had a successful operation.
Ron Sayle was diagnosed with liver cancer
(Image: Liverpool Echo WS)
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The retired chemical plant manager said: "My cancer operation was delayed because of Covid-19 but everyone is affected in one way or another through the restrictions that are in place.
"The care I received was exceptional, the team couldn’t do enough for me and it was great that they were able to get me back in so quickly.
"I’m now home and on the mend, which was the best birthday present I could’ve asked for.
"But it was a really difficult time and it brought home to me just how great an impact Covid-19 is having on our NHS.”
He added: "If everyone does simple things like washing their hands, wearing a face mask when they’re asked to and keeping their distance from people they don’t live with, then hopefully we will all soon be able to get back to normal.”
Ron Sayle at home in Frodsham with his wife Joyce
(Image: Liverpool Echo WS)
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Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said Mr Sayle is "one of a small number of cancer patients who experienced last-minute delays to their procedures due to a lack of ICU beds."
A partnership with Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital (LHCH) now means its clinicians have been performing complex liver cancer operations at the Broadgreen site since the beginning of November.
Because LHCH is a specialist hospital with no A&E department, ICU beds can be guaranteed so there is no risk that operations will be delayed at the last minute, the Trust said.
Mr Stephen Fenwick, lead cancer clinician at the Trust, said he was "delighted that Ron is doing so well".
He added: "While the vast majority of our cancer surgery has not been affected by COVID-19, for a small number of our most complex patients who require an ICU bed there have regrettably been occasions where our ICU is so busy with very sick patients that we have had to reschedule their operation at short notice.
“By working with Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital we can be certain of our theatre and ICU capacity, which will prevent the kind of last-minute delay that Ron experienced.”