Staff at Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals offered cash in exchange for holidays

Local hospital staff have been offered cash in exchange for holidays as the Covid crisis continues to bite.

Friday, 29th January 2021, 7:00 am

A total of 232 coronavirus patients are being treated across Pinderfields and Dewsbury Hospitals, according to the latest figures on Thursday.

That's a fall of 22 since Monday.

However, the Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust, which runs both sites and Pontefract Hospital, says more than eight per cent of its staff are currently absent because of Covid.

More than 300 staff at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust are currently absent due to Covid

With that in mind the trust has offered to buy annual leave off its workforce.

An extra ward has also been opened at Dewsbury Hospital to care for patients this week, in an area that would normally be used as an operating theatre.

Speaking at a health scrutiny committee on Thursday, trust representative Andrew Smith said that staff were currently "going above and beyond the call of duty".

He said: "We currently have 332 people who are absent due to Covid and that does include 162 staff who are shielding.

The trust said they had not wanted to buy annual leave of staff, but said the current predicament meant the measure was necessary.

"We are taking a number of measures to ensure that staff maintain social distancing and use PPE appropriately.

"It would be remiss of me not to express our gratitude to the staff who are I think very tired, very stretched and working many extra hours above what they're contracted to do.

"One of the measures the trust had to take this week was to offer to buy back annual leave.

It's a measure that ideally we wouldn't have taken, but we've done it to try to make sure our staffing levels are safe for patients."

Mr Smith said that around 95 per cent of beds across the three hospitals were currently occupied and the trust remained "under significant pressure".

Earlier this month, the trust admitted that some in-patients were waiting an average of between four and five hours for a bed.

Local Democracy Reporting Service