Huddersfield patients are facing long waits and being referred elsewhere as the town’s NHS services are pushed to their limits.
Hospitals across the whole of West Yorkshire are facing “significant pressures” due to an increased number of patients, staff shortages, and a higher incidence of respiratory illnesses.
Accident and Emergency departments are overcrowded and “all but the most urgent” surgeries are being cancelled.
The situation is no different at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary with a spokesperson for the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) explaining the measures being taken to cope with the high levels of demand.
They said: “Our A&E departments in both Halifax and Huddersfield hospitals are under extreme pressure. We have seen a significant increase in the number of attendances at both sites. The safety of our patients is paramount and we assess and see patients in the order of clinical priority.
“Anyone considered a low clinical priority could have a long wait or may be referred elsewhere. We are asking the public to help us help those most in need by only attending A&E or calling 999 for life or limb-threatening conditions. Please visit NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 if you need health advice and support.”
On Thursday 5 January, a statement was released by the West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (WYICB) about the pressures faced by the region’s NHS services. It said: “Like other parts of the country, health and care services in Yorkshire remain under significant pressure due to the number of people attending A&E, calling NHS111, accessing GPs, community and mental health services and calling 999. The increase in the number of people seeking help is alongside the challenges of a difficult winter.
“Health and care staff across every sector, including the voluntary community social enterprise sector, are working extremely hard under tremendous pressure to support and care for people. We thank each one of them for all that they’re doing to keep people safe and well, around the clock, every single day.
“It’s very important that people who need medical care come forward, especially when someone has a life-threatening illness or injury. A range of services are available to ensure Accident and Emergency Departments (A&E) are freed up to treat those with life-threatening and critical illnesses or injuries.”
WYICB went on to reiterate the importance of using 111 for quick health advice when it isn’t an emergency and only calling 999 when absolutely essential.
It was also reported earlier last year that West Yorkshire’s health and social care sector were experiencing difficulties in recruiting staff. At this time, 14.1% of positions in Kirklees’ mental health services were vacant and money going unspent.
As a result, efforts were being made to up the number of health and social care recruits in the borough through the Calderdale and Kirklees Health Care Programme – encouraging young people to enter a career in the sector, and overseas recruitment.