West Yorkshire and Harrogate hospitals warn of delays for patients after 248 per cent rise in Covid-19 cases in less than three weeks

Hospital trusts across West Yorkshire and Harrogate are warning of extreme pressures on hospital services after a staggering 248 per cent rise Covid-19 cases in less than three weeks.

Covid-19 inpatient numbers across the region rose from 165 on June 25 to 574 on July 12.

The need to isolate patients with Covid-19 from other parts of the hospital means that rising inpatient cases impacts on the number of available beds, says the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts (WYATT) which covers hospitals across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

This, combined with rising levels of Covid-related staff sickness, means that some patients are facing delays to planned treatment and procedures.

People are being urged to make sure they have had their Covid-19 vaccines

A and E departments are also extremely busy, and some patients are having to wait a long time to be seen while the treatment of those with life-threatening illness or serious injury is prioritised.

The trust is urging people to only attend A and E departments in genuine, life-threatening emergencies or for serious injuries.

Dr Sal Uka, Consultant Paediatrician at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust and Medical Lead at the WYATT, said: “The heatwave we are currently experiencing is adding further pressure on our hospitals and I would urge people to limit their exposure to the sun and to keep hydrated to prevent heatstroke and heat exhaustion.

“People can help reduce pressure on their local hospital by choosing the right service for their needs and only attending A and E or calling 999 for genuine, life-threatening illness or serious injury. NHS 111 Online can help people get the right advice or treatment they need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Patients and visitors should not be coming to hospital if they have any Covid-19 symptoms."

Dr Phil Wood, Chief Medical Officer at The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “The significant upsurge in Covid-19 cases in West Yorkshire and Harrogate means that our hospitals are facing extreme pressures. Our teams are doing everything they can to make sure that services are safe and, in some cases, planned treatment may need to be postponed.

“We are aware that some people have been waiting for planned operations for a very long time and, wherever possible, we will ensure these go ahead as planned.

“Thankfully, the number of very seriously ill people needing treatment in intensive care for Covid-19 is very small and accounts for less than two per cent of total inpatient cases. The Covid-19 vaccine is very effective at preventing severe disease in those who have been immunised and I’d encourage anyone who has not yet had their vaccine to book an appointment through the NHS.uk website."