Staff sickness and inpatient numbers both fall in Dudley as Covid rates drop

Falling Covid-19 transmission rates in the community have led to a reduction in staff sickness and inpatient numbers in Dudley, hospital chiefs said.

Russells Hall Hospital
Russells Hall Hospital

Diane Wake, chief executive of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said rates had fallen to the lowest she has yet seen in the area and Black Country.

They have declined "quite significantly" and now there are only 15 inpatients with the virus being cared for in hospital, a public board meeting on Wednesday heard.

Ms Wake added there were now fewer than 20 staff off sick due to the virus at the moment, compared to almost 300 workers during the peak of the pandemic.

She said: "Our Covid numbers are reducing quite significantly, we only have 15 inpatients and that's reflective of the community transmission rates which is at the lowest I've seen in Dudley and the Black Country.

"We had nearly 300 staff off (at the peak of the pandemic) and we have less than 20 staff off at the moment."

The chief executive, who heads up the trust which runs Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, said the focus was now on recovery and tackling waiting lists, as she said she was "delighted" to announce referrals into the hospital have returned to pre-Covid levels.

And in Dudley, staff are achieving the two-week waiting standard with all of their specialists. There has been a reduction in the 62-day waiting which is slower but progressing "month by month". Meanwhile the 104-day waiting lists have also reduced.

But health chiefs are aiming to do more – especially around elective work – to get ahead and benefit from Covid-19 rates being low, due to concerns over whether there will be another variant – or potentially difficulties around flu – and whether that will have a big impact in the hospital, the meeting heard.

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