King’s Mill Hospital preparing for ‘short, sharp wave’ of Omicron as admissions double

Bosses at Mansfield and Sutton’s King’s Mill hospitals are preparing for ‘short, sharp wave’ of Omicron this month after Covid cases doubled over the Christmas period.

By Andrew Topping
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 5:48 pm

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust says the week after December 25 has brought ‘significant emergency demand’, with its sites now operating at 100 per cent bed capacity.

This includes an additional 80 beds created to manage the winter pressures and a ‘surge plan’ put together when the Omicron variant of coronavirus first came to light.

The trust, which runs King’s Mill, Mansfield Community and Newark hospitals, is currently treating 110 patients who are positive with the virus.

King's Mill Hospital, Sutton.

Figures show the trust was treating 34 Covid patients at the start of December.

It follows a major surge in infection rates across Nottinghamshire as the Omicron strain takes hold, with the most recent countywide rate standing at 1,786.7 cases per 100,000 people.

This is significantly higher than the rate of 1,299.4 registered on Christmas Eve, with Covid cases more than trebling since this time last month.

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Paul Robinson, trust chief executive, told a trust board meeting: “We have experienced significant emergency demand over the Christmas and New Year period as, indeed, has the whole NHS.

“This has led to unprecedented pressures on our services, teams and colleagues, and we’re currently operating at 100 per cent bed occupancy levels.

“This includes what we would say is an additional 80 beds open at the moment, including 18 beds as part of a surge plan in December and the remaining additional beds in our winter plan.

“The numbers of Covid-positive patients have doubled since Christmas Eve, and as of January 5, we had 110 positive Covid patients.”

He said discharging patients back into the community is a ‘challenge’, with the number of people medically fit for discharge in hospitals doubling as external partners experience operational difficulties.

It comes as 10.8 per cent of the trust’s 5,000 workers are currently not in work, including about 300 people off due to Covid.

Mr Robinson said: “Despite all the pressures and challenges, we have maintained safe staffing levels and that includes the additional capacity we have opened.

“We’ve experienced no increase in demand for critical care beds, we’ve maintained our planned elective care and our ambulance turnaround times.

“Our incident control team now meets daily to coordinate trust response to the latest wave, and modelling on that wave predicts a short, sharp surge towards the mid-to-late January.”

The trust suspended all adult in-patient visiting on New Year’s Day to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

It came in response to the trust seeing a ‘surge in admissions of Covid positive patients and workforce shortages created by Covid isolation’.

Claire Ward, board chairman, praised the way hospital staff have managed the festive period.

She said: “Clearly our staff have put in an extraordinary level of effort over the last few weeks, particularly given we’ve had to open so many additional beds and provide additional services.

“It really has been a difficult time and a challenge.”

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