AIREDALE Hospital is facing a large backlog of operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been revealed.

The total number of operations carried out at the Steeton site since lockdown began has fallen from about 141 per week to just 13 – meaning that around 1,700 operations have been postponed.

If the hospital gets back to performing 141 operations a week, that backlog alone would take about three months to clear without any new procedures for other patients being added to the list.

Across the Bradford district, around 3,000 operations have had to be put off – with cancer screening and outpatient appointments also hit.

And nationally, about ten million people will be on the waiting list for NHS treatment by the end of the year, according to projections by the NHS Confederation.

Rob Aitchison, chief operating officer at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said the coronavirus pandemic had led to unprecedented demand on resources.

He added: “We do apologise to anyone whose operation has been delayed during this time. The NHS has needed to respond in an unprecedented way, and at speed, to care for those most seriously ill in our communities with Covid-19.

“Throughout the pandemic we have continued to carry out cancer and urgent operations, with our staff using the local hospitals in the independent sector to support this. We are looking to resume some routine surgical activity at Airedale Hospital in a phased way over the next few weeks and we will be contacting those patients in due course to make the necessary arrangements.

“During the past few months, we’ve continued to provide a proportion of our scheduled outpatient activity via phone or video consultation. We’ve also continued to provide face-to-face outpatient care for a number of patients with a clinically urgent need.

“We are currently working through plans to begin slowly increasing the level of planned clinical activity carried out in the hospital. Digital appointments will be an important part of this as we respond to the need to maintain social distancing and flow through the hospital.”