I have today had my latest update meeting with Angie Smithson, CEO at Chesterfield Royal Hospital and wanted again to provide an update to constituents.

There are currently 58 in-patients that have tested positive for Coronavirus. This has plateaued over the last few days but is basically as high as it has been during the second wave. The peak during the first wave was 80. However, 14 of these patients are in critical care, which is quite a high proportion of all patients, and with 6 non-COVID patients in critical care the hospital is coming dangerously close to its critical care capacity being stretched beyond its capability.

There are up to another 6 critical care beds available in the event thet they are needed with surgical wards being turned into critical care beds.

Two more patients have recently died bringing the death total with COVID up to 169, 587 COVID patients have been discharged, meaning approximately three and a half times more inpatients have survived COVID than died of it.

The early part of the second wave saw more younger patients but as the wave has matured the return to a largely older and medically vulnerable cohort of patients has returned.

The majority of elective operations are continuing to go ahead as are cancer and trauma operations. Occasionally, where patients might require critical care following their operation they may be delayed due to the shortage of critical care beds.

There has been an increase in the number of staff that are absent with COVID or self-isolating due to exposure or medical vulnerability. All staff with symptoms or at risk of exposure are being tested, but it is hoped that the new lateral flow test will enable much higher levels of staff testing soon.

Ms Smithson was at pains to thank everyone in Chesterfield for the restrictions to their normal lives that they have endured in order to keep infection rates down and protect our Hospital from being overrun, she said that staff are exhausted and the constant wearing of masks has also been difficult and restrictive but that continuing to abide by the restrictions will be crucial if the critical care capacity in Chesterfield is not to be overrun.

I’d like to thank Ms Smithson and every single member of staff at Chesterfield Royal for their commitment, stamina and professionalism. This pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but particularly for our health care staff and their experience makes clear that Coronavirus continues to pose a serious public health risk. The vaccine offers exciting prospects of a life beyond COVID but right now the need to keep the infection rate down is paramount.

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