HEALTH bosses in the borough have urged people to “do all they can” to reduce the spread of coronavirus over the Christmas period.

Chiefs at the Royal Bolton NHS Foundation Trust have called on people to take care during the temporary easing of coronavirus restrictions over Christmas.

Their plea came as the number of patients in Royal Bolton Hospital with coronavirus started to fall – after admission rates passed those seen during the peak of the first wave in April.

Andy Ennis, chief operating officer at the Trust, said: “The situation in our hospitals continues to be very challenging and we have had higher hospital Covid-19 admission rates over the past month than during the previous peak in the first wave in April.

“While we may be starting to see a slight reduction in the number of patients being treated for Covid-19, this does not mean that Covid-19 has gone away, and as we approach the Christmas period and the temporary easing of restrictions, we would urge everyone to continue to do all that they can to reduce the spread of the virus.”

Latest figures from NHS England show that 130 patients were being treated for Covid-19 at the hospital on November 24 – down from 150 inpatients on November 18.

The first wave of infections saw 148 patients cared for on the Trust’s busiest day, April 14.

Last week, NHS Providers warned the health service is facing a “real problem” across England, as the number of beds open to patients is still well below last year’s figures.

According to NHS data, an average of 605 beds were available overnight at the Trust between July and September – with 527 available for acute and general patients.

Between April and June, there were an average of 614 beds available, with 530 for general and acute patients.

During the same period – July to September – in 2019, the Trust had capacity for 652 patients, and could take in 574 acute and general patients.

Occupancy rates of these beds has risen since the first quarter, with just under three quarters of beds full on average in the most recent period, compared to just over 63 per cent of beds taken between April and June.

An NHS spokesman said infection prevention and control measures mean some beds cannot be used.

He added: “This means that trying to compare current occupancy figures with those from before the pandemic is like comparing apples and pears and does not reflect the very real pressures that hospitals are seeing due to rising numbers of patients with Covid-19.

“This is why it’s so important we all continue to follow the government guidelines and help stop the spread of the virus.”