Admissions to Leeds’s A&E departments doubled as sub-zero temperatures and icy road conditions played havoc in the region.
Leeds Hospitals NHS Trust was forced into implementing its ‘winter escalation’ action plan, and drafted in extra staff to cope with the pressure at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital.
At one point, around 60 patients an hour were flooding into the accident and emergency department at LGI, twice the usual number.
A spokesman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals said: “The severe weather overnight has had a significant impact on our two A&E departments and particularly at LGI, which has been dealing with unprecedented levels of attendances.
“From 8am into the afternoon the average hourly attendance at the LGI A&E department has been 50 to 60 patients – double the normal rate.
“These are overwhelmingly adults with injuries related to the icy weather – fractures, sprains, broken bones and cuts and bruises, including head injuries. Most of these were of a relatively minor nature but understandably they put huge pressure on the department and our staff worked heroically to deal with this upsurge.”
He said the situation was being “urgently monitored” to see how the upsurge would impact on the rest of the hospital. He added that extra theatre sessions may be held over the weekend if demand continues.
“We are working closely with our partners in the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, GPs and others to deal with this difficult situation and are urging people over the weekend to consider other options to get treatment for more minor conditions to ensure A&E is kept for real emergencies,” the spokesman said.
West Yorkshire Police and Yorkshire Ambulance Service both issued urgent care warnings yesterday as temperatures plunged to as low as minus two.
The Met Office also issued a warning. However, conditions were expected to improve over the weekend.