Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals 'could do with more beds' as pressure on health service continues
The NHS trust responsible for Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield has admitted it "could do with more beds" as pressure on the health service continues.
Beds in private hospitals have been widely used by the NHS since the coronavirus pandemic started and that arrangement is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
However, NHS bosses have also stressed the need for having sufficient staff to manage extra patients.
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which also runs Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals, as well as Pinderfields, said it had just recruited 150 extra nurses to bolster its numbers.
However, some current members of staff still remain off on Covid-related absences.
Speaking at a health scrutiny meeting on Thursday, the trust's A&E consultant Andrew Smith, said beds were "a challenge".
Asked by Labour councillor Olivia Rowley if the trust had enough beds, he said: "That's a very good question.
"Could we do with more beds? Yes we could. But we'd need more staff.
"I'm pleased to report that we've hired an extra 150 nurses. Some of them are coming from abroad.
"Unfortunately we still have staff who are still off, either because they're shielding or they are contacts or have tested Covid positive.
"The challenge isn't just about having enough beds - it's about having the personnel to manage those extra patients.
"We have to use our estate as efficiently as we can."
Mr Smith also said that fatigue and "burnout" among hospital staff was an ongoing concern.
Hundreds of employees were put to work on respiratory units and in intensive care as hospitals battled the pandemic at its peak in the spring.
Mr Smith added: "A lot of our staff during May and June were redeployed to enable us to provide for the surge.
"Most of those staff have now gone back to their jobs and switch back on those services that had to be stopped for Covid-19.
"We are concerned our staff are tired and we need to look after them."
Local Democracy Reporting Service