York Hospital Trust has reached a new peak in the number of Covid inpatients.
On Tuesday the Trust was treating 242 Covid patients – 111 more than at the previous peak in May 2020.
“Yesterday saw a peak in the number of Covid patients in our trust. Our trust is in the eye of the storm right now,” said Sue Symington, chair of the board of directors.
In a video message recorded for staff, trust chief executive Simon Morritt said anyone who suggests that the hospitals are quiet or empty “should walk a mile” in healthcare workers’ shoes.
There are currently seven dedicated Covid wards at York Hospital and three in Scarborough Hospital, a hospital trust board of directors meeting heard.
Mr Morritt said forecasts show the rate of Covid admissions should start to plateau and that the vaccine provides “light at the end of the tunnel”.
But he said the situation will be challenging in the coming days.
Long Covid clinic
On Tuesday the hospital also administered its 14,000th Covid vaccination. The trust has been vaccinating health and social care workers in York and Scarborough.
Ninety-nine elective procedures have been delayed in January as the trust has been treating increasing numbers of Covid patients.
And a new clinic will be set up to treat patients with symptoms of ‘long Covid’ – a condition where Covid patients experience persistent health problems for months after catching the virus.
GPs have begun to refer increasing numbers of patients with ‘long Covid’ symptoms to the hospital trust, the meeting heard.
Wendy Scott, chief operating officer at the trust, said: “We are already starting to see referrals from GP colleagues for patients with ongoing issues.
“There is a recognition that there is going to be an ongoing need to support these patients, perhaps for a long period of time. There is funding nationally for long Covid clinics.”
She added that maintaining non-Covid services has been “really challenging” while there are so many Covid patients in hospital.
“We are starting to plan for what happens after the peak and what that might look like,” she said.
“We are trying to maintain business as usual, but this has clearly had an impact on routine activity.
“I would like to reassure the board that we are continuing to maintain cancer treatment and make sure patients who urgently need surgery have access.”