High demand on beds at Leeds Teaching Hospitals

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Hospitals have been operating at full capacity after the number of patients needing treatment led to overcrowding.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals reported bed occupancy rates as high as 98 per cent in the third week of January, higher than the recommended 85 per cent safe level.

Extra beds have been opened to cope with winter demand at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s University Hospital.

Deputy chief executive Suzanne Hinchliffe said: The position at our hospitals remains challenging. Our inpatient and intensive care beds have been fully utilised with staff delivering the best possible care across our 90 wards.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank colleagues working across the hospitals; not only in our wards, clinics and operating theatres, but also in our support services which are essential for keeping our hospitals running.”

Figures released by NHS England show that more than 50 “escalation beds” to cope with extra demand had been opened at Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Prof Hinchliffe said every effort was made to maintain patients’ dignity in extra beds by providing temporary screens and remote call bells.

She added: “We are working hard to ensure we provide the best possible care although I acknowledge that we aren’t always able to maintain our usual high standards.

“This is frustrating and upsetting for our staff and for those patients and families who are affected by the pressures in our hospitals.”

NHS England figures also showed an increase in bed closures due to norovirus or diarrhoea and vomiting from an average of 621 to 742 beds a day nationwide. Flu levels appeared to be stabilising after placing an added strain on hospitals so far this winter.