Covid and cold weather 'significant challenge' for Bassetlaw Hospital, says area's NHS chief

The combination of rising Covid rates and cold weather has been described as a ‘significant challenge’ by Bassetlaw Hospital’s top boss.

Richard Parker, chief executive of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the area’s hospitals were facing ‘pressures’ – but has said staff will rise to the challenge of the current crisis.

In an open letter, he wrote: “As we begin 2022, I wanted to give our communities another update regarding the current pressures we face as a hospital, particularly in light of the prevalence of the new Omicron variant in the area.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the community infection rates which has impacted colleagues and we have also seen increased instances of staff needing to isolate which is presenting a significant challenge for us in terms of our workforce.

Richard Parker, chief executive of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

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“Colleagues are working hard through these challenges, ensuring that our patients continue to receive care. I wish to thank them for their hard work and resilience during this time whilst urging our local communities to help reduce the pressure.

“This week, we are also headed for some adverse weather conditions, with our surrounding areas predicted to be very cold and icy.

"Typically, this kind of weather means additional pressures on emergency services due to cold weather exacerbating symptoms of some medical conditions and accidents occurring when there is ice under foot or on the roads.

“If you are out and about this week and next, please take extra care when travelling or walking to ensure that the chances of falls and accidents kept to a minimum, and be sure to look out for one another.

"By helping to keep attendances in our emergency departments down, you can help our colleagues to manage the significant challenges posed by Covid-19."

Those ill or injured and unsure what to do next, can access advice on the most appropriate service HERE

Choosing the right service helps to reduce the number of people in emergency departments who could be treated elsewhere.

He added: “You can also play your part in helping to reduce the pressure on your local health services by protecting yourself from Covid-19 with the first, second and booster vaccines - which are the best defence against becoming seriously ill from the virus.

"Our nurses, doctors and other health professionals have seen first-hand the value and impact of vaccination. In the patients who have received the first and second doses of the vaccine, the admission rates to hospital are much lower, as is the number of patients who then go on to need intensive care.”

Vaccination centres are open in venues across Worksop.

Local residents are advised to follow updates from Bassetlaw Clinical Commissioning Group, as well as access NHS England’s booking service HERE.

He added: “You can also help to stop the spread of the virus in the community by isolating when you are symptomatic or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, and by practicing hands face space when you are out and about.

"All of these measures will help to reduce the number of admissions to our hospitals and reduce the strain on our workforce.

“We do need to continue to try to ensure we minimise carriage of Covid-19 into our hospital undetected, and our communities can also support us in these efforts by observing our restrictions when coming to hospital, whether for an appointment, as an inpatient, or as a visitor.

"Your adherence to guidance will really make all the difference.

“As always, thank you for your unwavering support for the staff at DBTH and for your efforts out in the community to stem the spread of this new variant of the virus.

"Whilst this may not be the start of the New Year we were all hoping for, I am truly optimistic that in 2022 we will begin to turn the corner on Covid-19, but only if we all continue to do the right things.”