Chesterfield Royal Hospital boss speaks of challenges ahead this winter
The chief executive of Chesterfield Royal Hospital has said a challenging winter lies ahead.
Angie Smithson spoke to the Derbyshire Times as the colder months come and the pandemic continues.
Asked if she was concerned about a significant increase in coronavirus patients this winter, Ms Smithson said: “There will be peaks and troughs inevitably as children go back to school and as people mix more indoors.
“It’s not only Covid-19, there will also be flu and other illnesses – winter is always an even more difficult period.
“The challenge we've got is caring for Covid-19 and emergency patients, and restoring all the elective services and looking after those people who've been waiting far too long for operations.”
She urged people to continue following coronavirus guidance and to get their vaccine if they haven’t already done so.
A spokesperson for Joined Up Care Derbyshire, the local health and care partnership, moved to reassure residents, saying: “We continue to have robust processes in place to escalate our plans for the care of Covid-19 patients, for both critical care and our inpatient wards, if and when we need to in the same way as we managed previous waves.”
Meanwhile, Helen Phillips, chair of Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, told the Derbyshire Times that 60 new nurses would be welcomed to the Royal ‘in the coming weeks’ to help cope with demand.
On Monday, a spokesperson for the Royal said there were 19 patients with a positive diagnosis of Covid-19 – five of whom were receiving critical care.
According to official data, 363 people had a confirmed positive test result for coronavirus in Chesterfield in the last seven days. This was an increase of 33.5 per cent compared to the previous seven days.
In North East Derbyshire, 304 people had a confirmed positive test result in the last seven days, up 0.3 per cent compared to the previous week.
Lee Rowley, North East Derbyshire MP, said: “We are expecting to see the impact of a return to work and school filter through in cases in the coming weeks but, hopefully, the situation will remain manageable locally as it has over the summer.”
More than 80 per cent of people aged 16 and over in the UK have now received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
‘Rapid rise’ fears
Millions of pupils are returning to classrooms across England this week – amid fears of a spike in coronavirus cases.
Pre-term testing is being used to limit infection, but rules on social distancing and face masks have gone.
Some scientists fear there will be a rapid rise in school cases without such measures – and the UK’s vaccine advisory body has refused to give the green light to vaccinating healthy children aged 12 to 15 on health grounds alone.
But the UK's four chief medical officers have now been asked to have the final say on this, and to consider the wider impact on schools and society.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said a decision would be made shortly.
Meanwhile, Mr Javid has said he is ‘confident’ that a booster programme for Covid-19 jabs can begin this month.