BRADFORD Royal Infirmary's chief nurse has urged people to "stick to the rules" this New Year's Eve as the hospital prepares its staff for a third wave of Covid-19.

Karen Dawber, chief nurse at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, revealed how wards are now getting "busy" with 112 patients confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients trust-wide.

The hospital hit a peak six weeks ago when it cared for 176 people carrying the virus and continues to care for 11 patients in ICU.

And with the promise of a vaccine in the future, the chief nurse warned that people need to "bear with it a little bit longer" and avoid the temptation of New Year's Eve parties and unnecessary mixing.

Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus, Ms Dawber said: "We're seeing the numbers creep back up. The numbers are creeping up again and we're concerned and we're watching closely what's happening elsewhere in the country where the numbers are going up much quicker than they are at the moment. We are readying ourselves for a third wave.

"There's light at the end of the tunnel but it's a light that's still not quite there yet as it's going to take many months to roll out the vaccine.

"Hands, face, space- we heard a lot about that in April, we heard it on the news all the time. The best thing you can do is maintain social distancing, wear your face masks when you're in public, especially with New Year's Eve coming up. Make sure you're washing your hands frequently.

"We've got modelling data that we're looking at that is sensitive to any emerging findings coming from different parts of the country. That allows us to look ahead in preparing beds we might need, how many admissions we might get. That allows us to plan where we would open Covid wards or close Covid wards or prepare intensive care."

The chief nurse issued a stern message to those spreading conspiracies online.

"I just think it's irresponsible and dangerous of people to suggest that something like this isn;t real," Ms Dawber said.

"Walk a mile in my shoes or the doctors or the nurses treating the patients that are coming in very ill and very sick - it's absolutely real.

"I've been a nurse for 30 years and I've never experienced a year like I have just experienced.

"It's incredibly serious.

"This is not a walk in the park, this is something that is impacting on everybody."

When asked if the new strain of coronavirus could already be in Bradford, the chief nurse added: "It's still too early to say."

2,000 vaccines have been administered at the BRI's site so far but targets will be moved to 2,000 per week from December 31.

And as demand and pressure grows once more, the hospital is aware it needs to continue stepping up support and safe spaces for staff.

From wobble rooms, weekly emails listing available mental health support and gifts to messages from CEO Professor Mel Pickup, the chief nurse said she is "proud" to work alongside the health professionals serving the district.

In a thank you message, Ms Dawber said: "The Bradford community's been fantastic, they have by and large stuck by the rules. That's really helped us carry on delivering services to our patients.

"A huge thank you to our staff who have gone above and beyond in 2020."

  • Anyone who is in need of emergency care should call 999 or request an ambulance
  • A&E remains open with covid-19 measures in place for those in need
  • If you are pregnant and feel something is not right (e.g. baby is not moving) please call the switchboard on 01274 542200 and ask for the maternity assessment centre to arrange a visit