Pressure on Airedale Hospital’s accident and emergency services was high during the festive break.

A&E staff were faced with “an exceptionally busy” week in the run-up to Christmas, with significantly higher admissions and attendances, according to Stacey Hunter, the director of operations at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

December 27 brought the highest-ever number of emergency admissions at Airedale, almost doubling the A&E department’s normal Friday figure.

“While it has been busier than last year, these higher trends were anticipated in our winter plan, and I would like to thank all our staff, who have worked hard to implement our planned contingencies for such an increase and ensured our patients have been safely cared for,” said Mrs Hunter.

Luckily, the winter sickness bug had not caused any wards to be shut at the hospital so far. But any relatives visiting friends and family in hospital are being asked only to do so if they are well and have not had any symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting for 48 hours.

Airedale Hospital had more than 85 emergency admissions on December 27, and in all just under 1,000 attendances.

A spokesman said there was not a single event or circumstance such as the bad weather that had triggered the big numbers of admissions. Thanks to more GP surgeries staying open during Christmas, there had not been many inappropriate attendances at A&E either.

“We would like to thank our GP colleagues, who have supported the local community by opening,” added Mrs Hunter.

The hospital continued to be busy into the New Year, but the spokesman said it still achieved the four-hour Emergency Care Standard target for December, attaining 95.49 per cent.

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