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Royal Blackburn: Coronvirus infections hitting other services, say staff

FRONTLINE workers at Royal Blackburn Hospital have said that the number of Covid patients has affected their surgery services.

Speaking to BBC North West Tonight, several doctors and a nurse have said that the pressure they are under has had a significant knock on effect on other services, including cancer treatment.

This comes after public health officials warned of “triple Covid pressures” hitting the hospital, which now has to transfer patients elsewhere due to the number of coronavirus cases it has to treat.

Speaking to the BBC, critical care consultant Dr Ian Stanley said: “We have a finite number of beds and a finite resource.

“So every time a patient comes onto our Covid area that takes away the potential for a bed in our non-Covid area to support our elective surgical programme.

“If you have a patient who stays on our Covid ITU for ten to 14 days which is fairly typical now, and you assume that a post-operative patient takes probably a couple of days in critical care, every patient who comes onto Covid potentially is affecting the chances for six to seven cancer patients getting their operation.”

Royal Blackburn now has 45 patients diagnosed with the virus filling two dedicated wards and another 11 in its Intensive Treatment Unit.

Meanwhile, staff members have themselves frequently been hit by Covid infections, with around 30 per cent of critical care staff unable to come in due to self-isolation rules.

Dr Munyaradzi Nyamutora said: “I’ve been off with Covid, I had to isolate for ten days.”

Staff self-isolation has put their colleagues who remain on the ward under further pressure and they have constantly found themselves having to fill in for those who are missing.

Emergency medicine nurse Sana Ahmed said: “I’m doing a lot of overtime at the moment, picking up shifts because we’re not able to get the staff we need.”

Blackburn with Darwen director of public health Professor Dominic Harrison has said that in order to reduce the pressures on Royal Blackburn, local residents should get their vaccinations, continue to wear masks in enclosed and crowded spaces, and continue to social distance where possible.