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Operations cancelled in Leeds amid warning of potential move to Tier 3 measures

By Dave Higgens, PA
·3-min read

Some operations have been cancelled at hospitals in Leeds as Covid-19 patient numbers reach levels close to the spring peak.

Managers said the pressure on beds has become “far greater than in the first wave”.

Staff at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s University Hospital have been told the growing number of admissions mean it is “looking even more likely” the city in West Yorkshire 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 there were 237 Covid-19 patients on wards on Tuesday, with 25 in critical care.

Mr Berridge said: “These numbers are close to the peak seen in the first surge and prevalence data indicates that it may continue to rise for another one to two weeks.

“Our current overall bed occupancy is far greater than in the first wave so there is very significant pressure on our inpatient capacity.

“Unfortunately, as a result, we have had to cancel some operations and expect this to continue throughout the week due to pressures on beds in all areas of our hospitals.”

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

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 now have more patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 than during the first wave of the virus.

The trust, which runs Doncaster Royal Infirmary, said on Monday that the number of coronavirus patients on their wards has been “far beyond the first wave earlier this year” .

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

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

It comes as local leaders in West Yorkshire have called for Kirklees to avoid being placed in Tier 3 restrictions as discussions continue with the Government over further action in the area.

A statement by Kirklees Council’s Outbreak Control Board, including Labour MPs Tracy Brabin and Barry Sheerman and Conservative MPs Jason McCartney and Mark Eastwood, as well as cross-party councillors, said Tier 3 rules would have a “devastating effect” on the economy and mental health.

The statement said: “The closure of our pubs and bars will have a devastating impact on our economy and people’s livelihoods, and we have not seen the evidence that this will directly impact on infection rates.

“We instead need to continue the work we are doing at a local level, on the ground, in our communities. We are already seeing positive results from this work, with Kirklees now having the lowest rates in West Yorkshire. We’re urging the Government to give us more resources to build on this.”

It added: “We’re concerned about the mental health of people in Kirklees, many of whom have been under local restrictions since July. Preventing people from visiting each other’s gardens will be a big blow during what is already a very difficult time.

“We also do not feel comfortable agreeing for Kirklees to enter Tier 3 without any indication of how we get out of these restrictions and how long they will last.”