York doctors report 'winter levels' of patients with respiratory problems – especially children

York doctors say they are facing “winter levels” of patients with respiratory illnesses which affect people’s breathing.

York Hospital is seeing increasing numbers of patients – particularly children – with respiratory illnesses coming into A&E

They say there has been a rise in adults and children suffering from respiratory problems and that this could be down to lower levels of immunity to common viruses.

A Yorkshire GP has suggested that people continue to wear masks after restrictions are lifted as it will not only help reduce Covid infections but also other viruses.

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York Hospital and York GP surgeries are under significant pressure as a result of the rise in respiratory illnesses, an outbreak board meeting heard.

Dr Sally Tyrer, GP and chair of the North Yorkshire and York Local Medical Committee, said: “We’re seeing a lot of both children and adults with typical illnesses that we would see in winter and we’re seeing probably winter levels of activity.

“I suppose that’s because people haven’t been socialising for a long time and their immunity to various other viruses has dropped.

“One way to try to mitigate some of the impact is to continue wearing masks in crowded areas to try to not only reduce the risk of Covid, but also people being mindful of the fact that there are multiple other viruses and there is a lower level of immunity generally in the community to those viruses at the moment. It will also help to reduce that spread.”

Prof Mike Holmes, a York GP and chair of Nimbuscare which runs York’s vaccination site, said doctors’ surgeries are under “significant pressure” and data shows demand is higher than it has ever been before.

York Hospital is also seeing increasing numbers of patients – particularly children – with respiratory illnesses coming into A&E. And they expect the problems to get worse.

Phil Mettam from the Vale of York clinical commissioning group (CCG) said the hospital emergency department is seeing high numbers of children and young people.

Michelle Carrington, executive director of nursing, told a CCG meeting: “It’s the expected surge of respiratory infections, which have been delayed through the the usual patterns that you see of bronchiolitis [a common lower respiratory tract infection that affects babies and young children under two years old] earlier on in the year popping up at unusual times.

“That [surge] will be increasing before it gets better and people are being asked to put in nationally their surge plans for that because we are expecting this to get worse.”

The outbreak board heard that York Hospital is also seeing an increase in Covid patients and on July 6 there were 16.