THE Dudley Group of Hospitals has taken the decision to postpone all but essential planned surgery over the weekend and on Monday due to the bad weather and further Met Office snow warnings.

The Trust, which manages the borough's main hospital - Russells Hall in Dudley, will still be carrying out emergency procedures and operations where there is an essential clinical need but chief executive Paula Clark said all other surgery will be rescheduled "in the interests of patient safety".

She said operations are only postponed as a last resort and that all patients affected have been or will be informed.

Ms Clark added: "We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused but the safety of our patients is our top priority. We would like to assure patients they will be seen at the earliest opportunity."

She said outpatient clinics are going ahead as scheduled although some patients who need to travel to hospital by ambulance have been informed that their appointments have been postponed.

And she added: "We are very fortunate that staff at the Trust are committed to caring for their patients and are making every effort to come into work as normal.

"However, some staff are struggling to get into work therefore we would ask patients to think carefully before attending Accident and Emergency unless their condition is critical or life threatening."