A&E departments are haemorrhaging staff, an experienced Yorkshire nurse has warned.

Sandy Lay, who works for the Harrogate and District Foundation Trust and is also a local councillor, said “overworked and overwhelmed” colleagues were leaving the profession in droves.

Councillor Lay, who represents Leeds’ Otley and Yeadon ward for the Liberal Democrats, said he himself was “partially” retiring in two weeks’ time after “re-evaluating” his work-life balance after the pandemic.

Speaking at a scrutiny meeting on Wednesday, Councillor Lay said: “We are haemorrhaging staff in A&E, because we’re worn out, we’re overwhelmed, we’re overworked.

West Yorkshire hospital trusts issue urgent plea over swamped A&E departments

“We’re haemorrhaging experienced, knowledgeable and skilful practitioners.

“It’s not enough just to recruit, it’s the quality of the recruitment.

“We’re having to employ newly qualified nurses and nurses who have one or two years’ experience on a ward.”

Councillor Lay’s comments follow pleas from Leeds hospital chiefs, urging patients to stay away from A&E unless they are in a “genuinely life-threatening” situation, in April.

NHS trusts across the country are now repeatedly missing targets to see 95 per cent of all A&E attendees within four hours.

Councillor Lay made the remarks as he drew parallels with Leeds’ children’s service department, and in particular provision for youngsters with special needs.