83 patients still being treated for COVID-19 at Wakefield's Pinderfields Hospital

A total of 83 people are still being treated for coronavirus at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

Monday, 18th May 2020, 9:15 am
Updated Monday, 18th May 2020, 9:16 am
People from Wakefield and Dewsbury who need care for the condition are being treated at Pinderfields Hospital.

It marks a sharp decline in COVID-19 patient numbers, which reached a peak of 170 in April.

Those being treated for the condition at Pinderfields are from the Wakefield district and Dewsbury.

Speaking on Friday, the hospital's chief executive Martin Barkley said it was "difficult to say" whether or not the figures would decline further.

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A banner expressing gratitude for frontline workers within the local NHS was put up in the hospital car park by a member of the public at the start of the crisis.

He also revealed that Pinderfields had at one stage been preparing to care for a peak of around 350 patients at any one time.

"One doesn't know what the consequences of the government easing the lockdown will be," he said.

"It's very hard to predict. I would probably expect it to go down a bit more, but maybe not to zero for a while. It's still an awful situation.

"At our peak we had 170 confirmed cases of in-patients who'd tested positive. We had plans for the peak to be more than double that.

Mr Barkley, the trust's chief executive, said it was difficult to predict what the effect of the government easing lockdown would be.

"As it happens we didn't reach those massively high levels but of course the staff numbers per patient have had to go up."

Hospitals are now under instructions from NHS England to carry out more cancer treatment in the coming weeks and months, amid concerns patients have stayed at home instead of seeking medical attention they need.

The number of people being referred by their GPs to the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals, is down "significantly", Mr Barkley said.

With attendances at A&E having also fallen, the public is being urged to get treatment if they need it, or to call the non-emergency 101 number.

Mr Barkley said: "It's not just a question of people being reluctant to come to hospital, but they're reluctant to see their GP in the first place.

"That's where we get many referrals for treatment from.

"I would be speculating but it could be that because people are at home rather than out and about, there's fewer accidents taking place, and that's why fewer people are attending emergency departments.

"But I think the extent to which people have stored up health problems while being at home will only become clear in the fullness of time."

Local Democracy Reporting Service