Sherwood Forest Hospital Trust under sustained pressure due to high covid rates
Urgent care services at some Nottinghamshire hospitals have faced sustained pressure in recent weeks as covid transmission rates remain high.
Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs King’s Mill, Newark and Mansfield Community hospitals, has urged staff and public to remain vigilant amidst an ongoing surge in positive tests nationwide.
Data published last week showed transmission rates across the country were at their highest rate since the start of the pandemic, with as many as five million people thought to have the virus.
It comes as free community testing comes to an end despite warnings from experts and opposition politicians that the scheme is “vital” to keep the disease under control.
Government data shows 81 people were admitted to Sherwood Forest Hospitals with covid in the most recent seven-day period.
A total of 3,924 people have been admitted to the trust with covid since the pandemic began.
And the latest available figures show 113 people are currently being treated in hospital having tested positive for the virus.
However, no patient is currently taking up a ventilation bed.
Hospital admissions for the virus have been on a gradual increase at the trust since the end of February, when the seven-day average was just 2.6.
Most recent figures show a seven-day admission average of 11.6 per day at the end of last month, which is close to the 11.9 figure on April 1, 2020, when the first wave of the virus took hold.
But admissions are not reaching the same numbers as the major wave in January 2021, when the highest seven-day average was 25.7 admissions per day.
Paul Robinson, chief executive of the trust, said covid remained a factor in the ongoing pressure being felt by the trust’s urgent care hubs.
Speaking at the board of directors meeting today, he said: “Our urgent care services have been under sustained pressure over the last two to three weeks.
“Covid remains a factor, transmission rates are high in the community and numbers remain high [in hospitals].
“We remind staff and all our workforce colleagues to remain vigilant.”
It comes as the trust confirmed it is gearing up to begin administering an expected further booster dose of the covid vaccine in the autumn.
The trust’s vaccination hub, at King’s Mill Hospital, has administered more than 200,000 jabs since its launch in December 2020 and will be relocating to a permanent location at the Sutton-in-Ashfield site.
But one hospital director has warned high community transmission could impact vaccine uptake figures as more people test positive for covid in Mansfield, Ashfield and Newark and Sherwood.
Latest infection rates show Ashfield had 745.7 cases of covid per 100,000 people in the seven days to April 1, while neighbouring Mansfield’s rate was 771.8 and Newark and Sherwood’s was 727.7.
Speaking in the meeting, Simon Barton, the trust’s chief operating officer, said: “I suspect the very high prevalence of covid within the population at the moment will impact the vaccine numbers.
“This is because there’s a period of time before you can actually have the vaccine if you’ve had covid, and because I suspect there will be quite a lot of people who think ‘I don’t need to have the vaccine now’.”
Responding to his point, Clare Teeney, director of people, added: “We’ve had to be agile in terms of our response, our preparation and how we have dealt with the administration of the vaccine.
“[We have been] changing with the mood music amongst members of the public and their thoughts to having it or not having it.
“The fact we’ve got a well-staffed hospital hub with a good reputation locally has had a positive impact on the local community and colleagues within the hospital in terms of uptake.”
Latest vaccination rates for Ashfield show 86.4% of residents have had one dose, with 82.6% taking up the second and 64.8% having a third dose.
In Mansfield, these figures are 82.8%, 78% and 60.8% respectively, while Newark and Sherwood’s figures are 85.9%, 82.2% and 66.9%.