COLCHESTER Hospital is keeping elective surgery under review amid concerns over the impact of Covid-19 and the new Omicron variant.

Bosses at the hospital stated Covid patients and those who need emergency and urgent care are the priority during the highly-demanding winter months.

It means those in need of elective surgery – which is not as time-critical and can be scheduled in advance - may see their treatments pushed back.

It comes as other hospitals across the UK announce the postponement of routine operations to help ensure all pumps are manned during the extra winter pressure on services.

The latest figures reveal ESNEFT hospitals, including Colchester, Clacton and Harwich, are caring for 63 Covid patients, with eight on mechanical ventilation beds.

This is a small increase from the previous week’s numbers, where there were 59 Covid patients using its services.

Alison Power, director of operations at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester Hospital, said patient safety is the “top priority”.

She said: “We are determined to keep all of our services going, but as with all NHS trusts up and down the country, we are keeping our routine and elective surgery under close and regular review at Colchester Hospital.

“This is so we can safely care for both our Covid-19 patients and our patients who need emergency and urgent care. Patient safety continues to remain our top priority.”

The trust implemented a visiting ban at its hospitals at the end of October amid rising Covid cases, but from November allowed patients to have one visitor again.

The trust says it continues to monitor the situation and changes will be made when appropriate.