The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Trust COVID status

27 October 2020

We are currently working very hard to ensure we treat as many patients as possible, while ensuring we provide a safe hospital environment.

Today we have 263 patients in our beds who have tested positive for COVID-19, including 22 in intensive care. This means we have more COVID-19 patients in our hospitals now than at the peak of the pandemic in mid-April. Over the next 48 hours we expect the number of people in critical care to increase.

On Tuesday last week there were 148 patients who tested positive for COVID which demonstrates how quickly the virus is spreading. Not only is the number of COVID cases increasing but so is the rate of increase. Local modelling based on prevalence data indicates that it may continue to rise for the next two weeks

The majority of admissions over the weekend has been older people with respiratory conditions. The infection rate for over-59s has increased from 165 per 100,000 last Saturday to 269 per 100,000.

We are using evidence gained during the first wave of the pandemic to increase capacity on a planned and phased basis to deal with rising numbers of COVID patients. Our current overall bed occupancy is far greater than in the first wave so there is very significant pressure on our inpatient capacity.

Our operational arrangements, i.e. the way we designate our beds and how we deploy our staff, need to be flexible to take account of daily changes in COVID numbers, as well as changes in NHS national guidance around safe distancing, COVID and non-COVID patient pathways, and managing clinical priorities.

We are standing down some planned operations due to current pressures which means that some patients will have their treatment postponed; only essential operations are going ahead in most cases. We have stopped elective inpatient orthopaedics at Chapel Allerton completely and we have begun a rolling programme of theatre closures to increase critical care capacity.

We expect this to continue throughout the week, which means some difficult decisions as we prioritise cases of higher urgency. We are prioritising urgent treatments, including cancer operations.

Currently, we have around 1800 inpatient beds in our two main hospitals, St James’s and Leeds General Infirmary, (including critical care beds) supporting care for two groups of inpatients:

  1. acute/emergency referrals or patients admitted through A&E, including COVID-19 patients; and
  2. planned admissions for scheduled operations or procedures.

We make hundreds of clinical decisions daily, on a case by case basis, about how beds are allocated in order to balance emergency care demand, including COVID, against our need to treat patients waiting for scheduled operations

We are working with our partners in health and social care to discharge people who are medically fit to leave hospital

We test every patient for COVID-19 and those patients who test positive are treated separately from those who test negative.

The health and wellbeing of our staff is of utmost importance and we continue to support them with ongoing advice, counselling awareness and referral, and keeping them informed with updates across our internal communications channels. We are offering daily flu vaccination clinics to protect the health of our staff.

Our message to patients and the people of Leeds is that we would encourage them to use health services when they need them. Advice on the right service to use is available via NHS 111 online or by telephone.

We support the messages from the local authority asking people not to mix with others unnecessarily and reduce social contact, where possible. We ask that people do this to protect NHS staff so that we can care for others.