Hospital services

Services at Airedale Hospital ‘stay operational’ despite Covid pressures

AIREDALE Hospital has given assurances that its services “remain operational” despite the pressures of the pandemic.

Bosses at the Steeton site say that – like other workplaces – it has been affected by staff absences due to illness and self-isolation.

But they add that contingency plans are in place to deal with the situation.

And they reiterate the message that the public can help by getting vaccinated, following measures to stop the spread of the virus and only using the accident and emergency department when absolutely necessary.

New data from NHS England reveals how employee absences from hospitals have increased in recent weeks, as cases of the Covid-19 Omicron variant rise.

Figures show that on Boxing Day, 236 Airedale NHS Foundation Trust staff were on sick leave – 52 of whom had Covid or were self-isolating, up from 41 the previous week.

Rob Aitchison, acting chief executive of the trust, said: “Demand in the hospital and in our community services is always high at this time of year. However, this year our teams are particularly under pressure as they are managing the usual winter pressures alongside an increase in Covid-19 cases and higher than usual staff absences due to Covid, but we have taken this into account when developing our winter plan and currently our services, although very tense, remain operational.

“We are doing everything we can to support our staff, including access to rapid PCR tests, to help people get back to work as soon as they can. Our teams are amazing; they go above and beyond to give our patients the best possible But I am aware of the continued pressure on them, and we are doing what we can to support them with a range of physical and mental health and well-being services.

“Members of the public can help by making sure they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19 – which they can get here at our vaccination center – and only coming to A&E in an emergency. If you need help but it is not an emergency, please use NHS 111 or 111.nhs.uk.

“Above all, everyone can do their part by taking steps to stop the spread of Covid-19 and other nasty winter viruses – washing your hands regularly, wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing. This will help you and those around you, to stay well and will also reduce pressure on the NHS.”