Harrogate hospital bed occupancy high as winter pressures bite


Mar 11, 2022
Harrogate District Hospital.
Harrogate District Hospital.

Hospital bosses in Harrogate have warned that the number of patients requiring treatment for winter infections remain high.

Dr Matt Shepherd, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and consultant in emergency medicine at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust said bed occupancy at the hospital remains high at 90%.

The hospital is currently dealing with patients suffering from winter infections, such as flu and coronavirus. Health officials in Harrogate recently urged people to dial 101 if their illness or injury was not serious.

According to the NHS England figures, the hospital is also treating 25 covid patients.

This comes as the district’s seven-day covid rate stands at 417 per 100,000 people, with a total of 880 covid cases in the last seven days.

Dr Shepherd said historically, pressures tended to ease during the spring. But this was now uncertain due to coronavirus and the lack of national restrictions.

He said:

“Historically, as we approach spring, the pressures have tended to reduce, however, as we are still dealing with the covid-19 pandemic this is not certain.

“Currently bed occupancy at our hospitals remain high at around 90 percent, a similar figure to February.”

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Dr Shepherd added that the pandemic was also having an effect on waiting lists. He said:

“The covid-19 pandemic certainly impacted on waiting lists for operations and one of our major priorities has been to cut the backlog.  

“The increased number of planned operations that are being performed has meant we have more patients occupying beds following their surgery.”

Dr Shepherd said the hospital also had 40 patients who no longer required care, but cannot be discharged because they do not have a suitable place to return to in order to recover.

Despite the continued pressures from covid, the hospital has since relaxed its visiting restrictions.

However, those visiting the hospital will still be required to wear a mask, sanitise their hands and abide by social distancing.

Dr Shepherd said:

“We are pleased to have recently been able to relax visiting restrictions, but anyone entering our hospitals will still need to wear a mask, ensure they sanitise their hands and maintain social distancing.  

“Following these protocols will help us to protect our patients, but also our staff. Reducing the risk of our staff catching covid-19 will help us to maintain appropriate staffing levels so our patients’ care is not disrupted.”

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