BRADFORD's hospitals will suspend some non-urgent surgery and outpatients’ appointments for two weeks as cases of seriously unwell COVID-19 patients rise.

Over the last few days, Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) has seen admissions rise to around 100 COVID patients, with up to 30 patients requiring oxygen support via non-invasive ventilation (CPAP). This is the single highest figure of patients on CPAP of any hospital in the Yorkshire and North East region.

The hospital also has an increased number of patients in intensive care on ventilation.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals Trust said the suspension will last for two weeks from today, October 20.

Professor Mel Pickup, chief Executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This surge is now at levels similar to the peak of the first wave in May. Unfortunately, because of this, we have to pause some non-urgent surgery and face-to-face outpatient appointments for the next two weeks.

“It’s not a decision we have taken lightly, but we must create as much bed capacity and free up clinical staff within our hospitals to help us manage this surge in COVID-19 patients.

“Patients with life-threatening, emergency illnesses should still attend our A&E department and we will continue to care for those people who are receiving treatment for cancer and many other conditions. Maternity services will continue to operate as normal. Our clinicians are urgently reviewing their patient lists to ensure we still treat those people in greatest clinical need.

“We are also continuing to work with neighbouring private hospitals like the Yorkshire Clinic to enable us to keep providing surgery and clinical investigations to those patients with urgent needs.

“The situation in our hospitals is very challenging, but with great support from our partners across the Bradford health and care system we are working hard to reduce admissions and support people to remain at home, or to be safely discharged from hospital as soon as it’s appropriate. And together we are doing all we can to encourage communities to follow local restrictions and think: Hands, Face, Space.

“I appreciate fully that behind the numbers on a waiting list are real people, with busy lives to juggle, who have been self-isolating before coming into hospital, hoping to get their treatment over and done with as soon as possible.

“To those people, I want to say we’re very sorry for the inconvenience this may cause, but please understand that we have to take this action to keep our hospitals safe for everyone while we deal with the worst effects of this virus.”

People can visit the Trust website for the latest visiting restrictions.

Professor Pickup added: "I’d like to take this opportunity to remind people to please follow Government guidelines on social distancing, hand washing and wearing face coverings.

“The simple message of ‘Hands, Face, Space’ is essential if we are to keep coronavirus at bay. We must do all in our power to stop this surge in cases. Everyone has a part to play to keep themselves, friends, family and colleagues safe.”