Essential surgery only in Leeds as Covid patient numbers overtake first wave

By Dave Higgens, PA
·2-min read

Only essential operations will go ahead at hospitals in Leeds after the number of Covid-19 patients being treated went beyond the number treated at the peak of the virus’s first wave.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital – said on Tuesday it has 263 Covid patients, including 22 in intensive care.

The trust said: “This means we have more Covid-19 patients in our hospitals now than at the peak of the pandemic in mid-April.

“Over the next 48 hours we expect the number of people in critical care to increase.

“We are standing down some planned operations due to current pressures which means that some patients will have their treatments postponed; only essential operations are going ahead in most cases.”

Hospital staff have been told that the rapid rise of admission numbers means that it is “looking even more likely” that Leeds will be moved into Tier 3 of coronavirus restrictions.

In an internal statement obtained by The Independent, deputy chief medical officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals David Berridge said: “This also means that it is looking even more likely that Leeds will move into Tier 3, following discussions across the city and with the government.”

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

The Leeds trust, which has around 1,800 beds, said that there were 148 Covid patients in its hospital on Tuesday last week, which means that there had been a rise of 115, which is 78%, in a week.

It said this demonstrates how quickly the virus is spreading.

It said: “Not only is the number of Covid cases increasing but so is the rate of increase. Local modelling based on prevalence data indicates that it may continue to rise for the next two weeks.”

The trust said the majority of admissions over the weekend has been older people with respiratory conditions.

The trust added: “We have stopped elective inpatient orthopaedics at Chapel Allerton completely and we have begun a rolling programme of theatre closures to increase critical care capacity.

“We expect this to continue throughout the week, which means some difficult decisions as we prioritise cases of higher urgency. We are prioritising urgent treatments, including cancer operations.”

The move in Leeds will stoke growing fears about fast-rising numbers of coronavirus patients across Yorkshire.

It follows the announcement from two trusts in South Yorkshire that they also now have more patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 than during the first wave of the virus.

On Monday, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (DBTH) said it had 201 patients who have tested positive, which is “almost double where we were last Sunday”.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust said it had closed three operating theatres at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield to enable staff to care for critically ill coronavirus patients.

Rotherham Hospital also reported a jump in cases to beyond the spring peak.