Number of Covid inpatients in West Yorkshire and Harrogate hospitals trebles

Credit: Niall Carson/PA Images 
Date: May 2020
Clinical sister Joan Wilson (left) in a Covid-19 recovery ward at Craigavon Area Hospital in Co Armagh, Northern Ireland.
The number of inpatients with Covid-19 has more than trebles since last month. Credit: PA

Hospitals in Yorkshire are urging people to avoid accident and emergency departments unless absolutely necessary because of "extreme pressures" caused by rising Covid-19 cases.

The advice comes after the number of inpatients with coronavirus in West Yorkshire and Harrogate more than trebled – from 165 last month to 574 in July.

The West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts (WYAAT) said rising levels of staff sickness and the need to isolate patients with Covid-19 meant bed numbers were stretched.

Dr Phil Wood, chief medical officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "The significant upsurge in Covid-19 cases in West Yorkshire and Harrogate means that our hospitals are facing extreme pressures.

Hospitals including Leeds General Infirmary are experiencing the strain. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

"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."

He said the number of Covid patients in intensive care was "very small" and accounted for less than 2%of total inpatient cases. 

But the current heatwave is adding further pressure, with more patients presenting with heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Dr Sal Uka, consultant paediatrician at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, said: "People can help reduce pressure on their local hospital by choosing the right service for their needs and only attending A&E or calling 999 for genuine, life-threatening illness or serious injury.

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

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