Only three out of 200 people took up a recent offer to have a cataract operation they needed, according to the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
The situation has prompted Steve McManus, the hospital’s chief executive, to try and reassure patients about the safety of coming in for treatment.
“We are now almost a Covid free hospital with just seven positive patients being treated here at the moment. We’ve implemented major safety procedures to make sure our patients and staff are as protected as possible and we are very anxious that people who do need to come here for treatment do so,” Mr McManus said.
He added: “Our staff have been tested for Covid, we have strict social distancing rules in place, clinical rooms are thoroughly cleaned after each patient has been seen, everyone is wearing a mask or face covering, hand sanitisers are in place around the site, new rules on using the lifts are in place – everything possible has been done and I can reassure people they are in very safe hands when they come here.”
People booked in for an operation must isolate for 14 days beforehand, along with the rest of their household. When they are called in for a swab before their surgery, they are advised to avoid public transport as this effectively takes them out of the 14-day isolation period.
As well as people turning down slots for planned operations, the hospital is concerned that people with potentially life-threatening illnesses like cancer, heart disease and stroke symptoms, are also staying away amid fears of catching Covid.
The hospital is back to running a single A&E site, after previously needing to run two separate emergency areas to keep people arriving with Covid-19, away from others.
Are you reluctant to go into hospital?
Share your views with us in our Pandemic Experience Survey and we'll use the findings to help the hospital and other health services get things right for you as they try to get back to normal.