Airedale Hospital braced for a fourth wave of Covid admissions

A new £15million critical unit is being built at Airedale Hospital in Keighley as staff prepare for a fourth wave of Covid-19 and a fresh influx of admissions.

Two years since the first UK case was identified in Yorkshire, workers remain under pressure following the third wave of the virus and the recent spike in cases caused by the Omicron variant.

Now a new unit is being built, due to be completed in spring, which will replace outdated and cramped critical care facilities, enabling the hospital to care for more seriously ill patients.

A new £15m unit will increase the capacity of critical care at the hospital

According to the latest official government data, Airedale is treating 51 patients for coronavirus, with only one on ventilation.

But hospital chief executive Rob Aitchison said the pandemic was far from over.

He said: "If you spoke to our teams right now about the complexity that they're seeing on a day to day basis, about how you keep your Covid and your non-Covid patients safe and separate, you would see how it is still very much with us.

"If you visit the hospital at the moment, we'll still be asking you to adhere to all social distancing, wearing a mask and making sure that you're washing your hands and keeping yourself safe."

Staff are still dealing with complex Covid cases Credit: ITV News

Staff at Airedale say huge improvements have been made in the way they can treat coronavirus. Extremely clinically vulnerable patients can now be offered drugs as an alternative to hospital care.

Deputy chief pharmacist Lucy Hennessy said: "We've learnt a massive amount in the last two years about the disease, about the treatments.

"There are many more treatments now available, and we've learned a lot about the sorts of patients that we need to protect."