OPERATIONS have been cancelled at St Mary's Hospital over the past two days because of a shortage of beds.

The Isle of Wight hospital was placed on black alert at 8pm on Sunday and has remained so into this afternoon (Tuesday).

The rest of the health and social care system on the Island is on red alert — one stage lower.

St Mary's Hospital has a capacity of 252 beds, but has had to use ten day surgery beds as extra to accommodate patients.

This has meant postponing some scheduled inpatient and day surgery procedures.

An IW NHS spokesman said the problems were caused by a delay in discharges.

This was a result of a multitude of factors, including a shortage of social care.

He said 65 people were medically fit for discharge, but had not been able to leave.

The spokesman said all of the people that had been admitted needed hospital attention, but nonetheless advised people to phone 111 for advice.

*A St Mary's Hospital spokesman said the hospital's status should return to red by the end of the day (Wednesday).

"We are just awaiting a unit that was used for additional accommodation to be returned to normal use, and when that happens we will remove the black alert," he said. 

The number of patients awaiting discharge is now at 45, the spokesman confirmed. 

Reporter: matthewm@iwcpmail.co.uk