Covid: Sheffield Teaching Hospital says number of coronavirus patients tripled over Christmas period

The number of Covid patients at one of Sheffield’s major hospital trusts tripled over the Christmas period.

Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 8:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 11:19 am

The pressure on hospitals in England was brought into focus this week after several hospital trusts declared ‘critical incidents’ over staff shortages and stresses due to Covid.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has not declared a major incident – despite seeing the number of Covid patients on its wards triple over the Christmas period.

A spokesperson said the number has leapt from 75 before the festive season to 234 as of January 4 – but noted that fewer patients currently require critical care than in previous waves.

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Nurses at the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, preparing COVID Pfizer vaccine doses.

Sheffield’s Children Hospital NHS Trust has also not declared a critical incident.

Figures revealed more than 2,000 staff at STH were absent on Boxing Day, in line with hospitals across England where high numbers of staff are self-isolating due to the disease.

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Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust says it saw the number of Covid patients across its wards triple during the Christmas period.

On Tuesday, STH chief executive Kirsten Major said it was only coping because of staff ‘going above and beyond every single day’.

She said: “Regrettably, we have seen an increase in the number of Covid patients being admitted to our hospitals.

"This has been coupled with higher than usual staff absence, due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant being prevalent in local communities, and the usual high demand for non-Covid-19 and emergency care that we see at this time of year.

"We had predicted the increase in demand and staff absence.

Sheffield Teaching Hospital trust has not declared a critical incident, however, which has been seen at several trusts across England this week due to pressure and staff shortages.

"Thankfully we have far fewer patients needing critical care support this time and the severity of the illness for those who are vaccinated is less than we have seen previously.”

Nationally, several hospital trusts have declared a ‘critical incident’ due to pressures and staff shortages.

Critical incidents are declared when health bosses are concerned they cannot provide priority services, including treatment for cancer and heart disease patients.

The shortages have impacted how long ambulances have had to wait to drop off patients, its ability to discharge patients and waiting times in emergency and urgent care departments.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals include Northern General Hospital, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Jessop Wing, Weston Park Hospital and Charles Clifford Dental Hospital.