Yorkshire hospital cancels operations after number of coronavirus patients doubles

Shaun Lintern
·4 min read
Pinderfields Hospitals in Yorkshire where operations have been cancelled (PA)
Pinderfields Hospitals in Yorkshire where operations have been cancelled (PA)

A hospital in Yorkshire has cancelled routine operations to redeploy staff to intensive care after the number of coronavirus patients more than doubled in a week.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust is the latest to announce cancellations as the numbers of patients admitted to hospitals with the virus continues to rise.

The Yorkshire region is seeing a surge in patients, surpassing increases seen in the northwest where hospitals in Liverpool have reported more than a quarter of beds being filled with coronavirus patients.

According to the latest daily data there are now more than 7,850 patients with coronavirus in hospital across the UK, with more than 740 on ventilators to help them breathe.

In the past week hospitals in Birmingham, Nottingham, Plymouth and across the northwest have cancelled routine surgery to free up capacity to look after patients.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust told The Independent it had been forced to close three operating theatres at its Pinderfields Hospital to release staff to care for critically ill patients.

The trust chief executive Martin Barkley said the number of Covid positive patients at the trust had more than doubled in a week from 68 patients to 139 as of Monday morning.

The northeast region has been seeing a significant spike in cases following behind the northwest where Liverpool has been hardest hit.

An analysis by the Health Service Journal found the region could soon overtake the northwest for Covid admissions.

There have been 1,692 Covid patients admitted or newly diagnosed in hospital in the northeast and Yorkshire region to 23 October, an increase of 42 per cent on 1,191 on 16 October.

Compared to the northwest 1,789 patients with Covid were admitted in the same period, up 17 per cent from 1,527 the week before.

Health systems in Yorkshire appear to be behind the regional increases with the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw and West Yorkshire and Harrogate regions seeing particularly large increases where Covid patient numbers have increase 10 percentage points since the end of September.

Martin Barkley, chief executive, at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, said: “We have seen an escalating number of Covid positive inpatients at our trust. The number of Covid positive patients has increased from 68 patients last week to 139 patients as of 8am on Monday 26 October.

“The trust is very prepared for an increase in patients and staff are working tirelessly in challenging circumstances, helping directly or indirectly to provide the care and treatment that our Covid and non-Covid patients need.”

He added: “We have not yet had to implement all phases of our escalation plans however, last week the trust made the crucial decision to close two elective theatres, and today a third one, at Pinderfields Hospital.

“This has meant some planned surgery has been postponed to free up staff to support critically unwell patients who are on ventilation. These colleagues are working on our ICU.

“I am extremely humbled by and grateful for the support our staff are giving each other and our patients.

“We ask the public for their support during these demanding times by following Government guidance: Hands, Face, Space.”

Hospitals in Rotherham have also cancelled some operations.

George Briggs, chief operating officer of Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said: "As the number of Covid patients increase, we have taken the decision to reschedule our non-urgent electives that require an inpatient bed on a ward. This is being reviewed on a daily and weekly basis. We are in the process of rearranging all affected patients and this will be done over the next few weeks aiming to readmit all on the day cancellations within the national requirement of 28 days.

“Our urgent and cancer electives are continuing and we are maintaining our day case lists.”

Last week, The Independent revealed the wider impact of coronavirus on hospitals across the UK as some regions reported surges in patient numbers.

As well as The Royal Liverpool University Hospital seeing a quarter of beds taken up with Covid patients, the Lancashire and South Cumbria region saw 15 per cent of beds filled with coronavirus cases.

In a message to staff Kevin McGee, chief executive of East Lancashire Hospitals Trust said his organisation was in a “really challenging situation” adding: “Covid infection rates remain very high, throughout the North West. This then impacts on our services, and of course, our staff. We are extremely busy in our hospitals.”

He told staff to look after themselves adding: “Remember to take your breaks, stay hydrated, rest and take your leave. And importantly, keep yourselves safe while at work - stick to the social distancing rules; wear all appropriate PPE.”

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