Blackpool dad raises money for brain cancer charity after daughter’s diagnosis

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The dad of a terminally ill woman who is battling brain cancer hit the road on his bike throughout last month to raise money in a bid to help fund research into the disease.

 

Keith Walsh, 69, of Whitegate Drive, took part in a 274 mile cycle throughout August and raised £2,000 for Brain Tumour Research.

In February, his daughter Zara Taylor, 31, an NHS clerk at Blackpool Vic, was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive brain cancer.

Zara was given the devastating prognosis of just 12 to 18 months to live.

Keith's daughter Zara is battling brain cancer. Pic: Zara Taylor

Keith’s daughter Zara is battling brain cancer. Pic: Zara Taylor

Blackpool Victoria Hospital worker who dreams of starting a family given ’12 to …

Pharmacy delivery driver Keith decided after her diagnosis to help in any way he could, and vowed to raise as much money as possible to help medics carry out research into the disease in a bid to save lives.

Keith said: “Obviously I’d rather not be doing this, I wish she didn’t have it. It was a shock to me and her mum, but we’re trying to keep as positive as we can.

“Hopefully with all the money raised for [Brain Tumour Research] they might be able to find a cure for it eventually. That’s the ultimate goal.”

Keith Walsh cycled 274 miles in August to raise £2,000 for Brain Tumour Research after his daughter Zara was diagnosed with a tumour in February. Pic: Zara Taylor

Keith Walsh cycled 274 miles in August to raise £2,000 for Brain Tumour Research after his daughter Zara was diagnosed with a tumour in February. Pic: Zara Taylor

Keith hit the road on his bike and cycled 274 miles in August, during a national challenge to raise money for the charity.

He ticked off the final five miles while taking part in resort event Ride the Lights on the prom on August 31, and plans to continue fundraising in the future.

Keith continued: “We had donations from patients I deliver to and customers in my wife’s salon, and I cycled with my friend ben who lives a couple of doors down.

“We’re also planning on scaling the Trafford Centre, taking part in the Three Peaks challenge, and a big cycle ride from London to Brighton next year.

“Zara’s husband Jordan will probably join in with some of the other events, and I’m keeping up my cycling now so if there’s anything else we can jump onto to raise money we will.”

Zara has also raised money for Brain Tumour Research, after taking part in a 26-mile jog challenge in May.

She said: “I am so proud of my dad and grateful he did this for me.

“To date since May we have collectively raised over £6,000 for Brain tumour research from two events, and I’m setting up my own fundraising group to try and raise even more and do more events to help anyway I can.”

 

Home Office hits back at Blackpool Council criticism over 223 asylum seekers being housed in Metropole Hotel

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The Home Office has hit back at Blackpool Council who have criticised the decision made by the Government department to house more than 220 asylum seekers in a Blackpool hotel.

 

It was announced on Tuesday that the Metropole Hotel on the Promenade will be receiving 223 asylum seekers by the end of the week, and Blackpool Council said it had not been consulted on the proposals.

The leader, Coun Lynn Williams, said the Home Office ‘refused to listen to reason or answer basic questions’.

The decision to house asylum seekers – who continue to sail across the Channel in their hundreds – in a prominent seafront hotel was also described as a “panic measure” and “disproportionate and damaging” by the resort’s two Tory MPs, Paul Maynard and Scott Benton, who yesterday rounded on their own Government.

The Metropole Hotel is being used to house 223 asylum seekers by the end of the week

The Metropole Hotel is being used to house 223 asylum seekers by the end of the week

A spokesman for the Home Office, overseen by Home Secretary Priti Patel, said: “These claims are incorrect. The Home Office wrote to the chief executive of Blackpool Council and the local MPs on the planned use of the Metropole hotel on 25 August.

“The council replied to us on 27 August and we submitted a written response yesterday

Blackpool MPs criticise their own Government over 223 asylum seekers being house…

“All the hotels the Home Office uses must meet relevant health and safety legislation and provide their latest health and safety risk assessment.”

MPs Scott Benton and Paul Maynard have criticised the decision

MPs Scott Benton and Paul Maynard have criticised the decision

Former MP Gordon Marsden has also hit out at the Government, saying that this has been done before.

He said: “This is a badly thought out and potentially dangerous move – where the Home Office has completely ignored the protests and warnings of Blackpool council and the welfare of the town , its people and businesses , and the needs of the asylum seekers themselves.

“The Home Office has had past form on this .When I was chair of a seaside and coastal towns group in Parliament back in the 2000s , their officials tried to move many 100s of refugees and asylum seekers to Blackpool and other coastal and seaside towns , and I led a delegation of our MP members to the Minister who reversed the decision.”

Britannia Hotels, who run the Metropole Hotel, has been contacted by The Gazette on three occasions now but a response to questions has still not been received.

The hotel chain also operates the Blackpool Grand, Norbreck Castle and Savoy across the resort.

 

In pictures: Fun for all the family at the fantastic and colourful St Annes Kite Festival

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The skies over St Annes were filled with kites of all shapes and sizes as the town’s popular Kite Festival returned today for the first time since 2019.

 

Bags of fun at the St Annes Kite Festival
Bags of fun at the St Annes Kite Festival

Temporary ambulance hub to be built on hospital site while old station is demolished

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A temporary ambulance station will be set up on the former Devonshire Road Hospital site in Blackpool while the old station is demolished and replaced with a state of the art new building.

 

The new station for Waterloo Road

The new station for Waterloo Road

A planning application for the new three-storey ambulance station, submitted by the North West Ambulance Service, was approved by Blackpool Council in June.

It means the current station on Waterloo Road in South Shore, which was built in 1980, will be demolished and replaced with a new facility which NWAS says will modernise the service – but will also lead to the eventual closure of ambulance stations in Fleetwood, Thornton, Lytham and Wesham.

The service also submitted plans for the erection of a single storey ambulance hub, with associated parking and refuse storage, on the Devonshire Road site for a temporary period of 60 weeks while the Waterloo Road development is underway.

Approving the application last week, town planners said the Local Planning Authority had tried to ‘secure a sustainable development that would improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of Blackpool’.

The temporary station will comprise a 392 sq.m. single storey building including offices, refreshment facilities, training and meeting room, locker and changing facilities and a storeroom. Vehicular access will be from Coleridge Road, exiting onto Devonshire Road, with 63 staff parking spaces and parking for 19 operational vehicles sited off the central road.

The development will be built on vacant land over a predicted nine week period, with operating hours being 8AM to 5PM Monday to Friday, with occasional 8AM to 12PM shifts on Saturday mornings.

 

The ‘magnificent’ Blackpool home with outdoor pool, games room and bar

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The character home is a ‘must see’ property for those who enjoy the ‘finer things in life’

 

Front of the character home for sale on Preston New Road, Blackpool
Front of the character home for sale on Preston New Road, Blackpool (Image: RightMove)

A property described as a ‘magnificent character house’ is currently on the market in Blackpool for £600,000.

The four bedroom detached home has all the charm of a period property whilst also providing contemporary and modern living accommodation.

The house on Preston New Road is well looked after by its current owners and is finished to an exceptional standard.

According to the listing, “If you like a high end of finish and the finer things in life, then this property is for you.”

Sitting on a generous plot, the home is surrounded by stunning mature gardens to the front and rear and is secured by electronic gates.

Parking is available on its extensive driveway as well as in its decent sized garage.

An exceptional outdoor heated swimming pool with cover can be found at the back along with a patio area for al fresco dining and a brick-built barbecue area.

Set over two floors, the property briefly comprises of a good sized lounge, well-appointed modern kitchen diner , a separate playroom and a ground floor office for working from home.

Additionally, there is also a games room with a feature bar plus a utility room and a downstairs toilet on the ground floor.

Games Room with bay windows
Games Room with bay windows (Image: RightMove)

Upstairs, there are four great sized double bedrooms with the master bedroom possessing a bay window, fitted wardrobes and a hidden en-suite shower room.

Bedrooms two and three also benefit from fitted wardrobes with bedroom four currently a child’s bedroom boasting a magnificent safari mural.

This floor is also where the family bathroom can be found which has a three piece suite with the addition of a walk-in shower plus a separate toilet.

This area is highly sought after area and is frequently requested by buyers. A viewing is highly recommended to appreciate the home’s finish, quality, class and character.

To find out more, please visit the Rightmove listing here.

 

The ‘hidden gem’ Blackpool music venue helping ‘revive’ indie-alternative music scene

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Bootleg Social in Blackpool has some big acts set to perform in September

 

Bootleg Social in Blackpool

Bootleg Social in Blackpool

From childhood friends to co-owners of Blackpool’s independent music venue, Bootleg Social have a packed calendar after being closed due to the pandemic.

The highly-rated bar and live music venue is located in Blackpool’s town centre and prides itself on ‘being a bit of a hidden gem’.

The 330 capacity venue has supported and nurtured new and upcoming bands from the local area since 2014.

LancsLive spoke to Stephen Skelly, co-owner of Bootleg Social, about the venue, upcoming events and how they coped with pandemic closures.

The cool location of Bootleg Social used to belong to Jenks, known to many as a great indie night out. In fact, that’s exactly what encouraged co-owners James Ogilvie and Stephen Skelly to takeover the building for Bootleg Social.

Stephen said Jenks was the place the friends went when they were all 18 and after coming back from university, found that the beloved venue was up for lease.

Stephen said: “I was at a point in my life where I could either buy a house or buy a venue, so I got a venue.”

The friends set up the venue to celebrate their love for indie and alternative music, and have been directing the business since 2014.

“When we first started we hosted acoustic acts mostly, it was a bit DIY,” Stephen said.

As time went on they continued to build the venue and their stage and became a multipurpose venue used to put on club nights and DJ events, as well as offering a “decent” collection of craft beers and serving food to their customers.

Previously, the menu consisted of Pieminister pies but has recently changed to “a new Chicago style deep dish pizza” where customers can order a full pizza, or even just a slice.

DJ set at Bootleg Social

DJ set at Bootleg Social

Stephen believes the indie and alternative music scene in Blackpool is “recovering”, he recalled the scene from “around 10 years ago” where the scene was “great”, but then he said: “it dwindled and youth music culture changed and people had different interests”.

“Since we’ve opened Bootleg there seems to be a bit of a revival of the indie-alternative music scene. Live music and bands in the area are sprouting up again which is nice and refreshing.”

The turning point for Bootleg was back in 2018 when The Wombats asked fans which small venues they should tour through.

After an online vote, Bootleg Social won, meaning they became one of four grassroot venues to host the band to adoring fans.

“It put us on the map in a way,” Stephen said, “from then on, being able to say we had previously hosted the Wombats gave Bootleg a bit more credibility with agents who were more willing to send bands through Blackpool.”

He continued: “It was a big thing for us, and it was a big thing for the community, it gave people the belief that if we want good things to happen and we want good bands to come through Blackpool then everyone needs to put a little effort in and it can happen.”

When the pandemic hit in 2020, Bootleg was closed until May 2021 where they reopened with “a few” socially distanced gigs with a maximum capacity of 40 people and seated with table service.

When the now-dubbed Freedom Day came round in July, Bootleg came back with a sold-out gig with the local band Alright who had formed over lockdown.

Stephen said: “It was like a return to old times, with a few precautions involved obviously.”

The venue encourages lateral flow tests before events and staff wear masks behind the bar. They have also installed UVC air filtration and ventilation to make gigs “as safe as possible.”

There was an opportunity for Bootleg to reopen in August 2020, but it was financially unviable for the venue. The only reason, they said, that they could reopen to provide socially distanced gigs this year was due to the Arts Council Recovery Fund.

“We wouldn’t be here without it,” Stephen said, “it bought us through these times.”

Stephen said the pandemic was “devastating” for venues like themselves.

“We’re supporting these small bands and putting on grass roots gigs, it’s not profit-making, we do it for a love. I’ve worked bootleg for the last six or seven years and it’s literally a passion project, its something we do for love, not money or profit.”

Bootleg Social

Bootleg Social

Now, thanks to the National Lottery Revive Live tour, Bootleg Social have a packed calendar for the rest of the year.

The National Lottery has partnered with leading UK charity Music Venue Trust with a unique initiative to help revive the UK’s live music sector. They are contributing £1M to ‘directly underwrite the touring and production costs of over 300 live performances this summer, enabling the grassroots live music industry to start promoting shows again in the knowledge that the upfront costs associated with touring are covered.’

Stephen said: “Its a national incentive of loads of bands that want to try and get back on the road and help small venues by putting on tours and bringing bands back on stage as soon as possible. These first few months of opening its been hard to book big names as no one knows what is happening”

Bootleg are selling tickets for half the venue capacity, for anyone who buys a ticket they can bring in a friend for free, as long as they have purchased a national lottery item such as a scratch card or lottery ticket, and show evidence of that purchase.

Stephen said it was “a cool little incentive” that helps “everyone get back into a place where shows are viable, which is amazing.”

There are three National Lottery Revive Live tours at the venue in the next month. On September 7, Pizzagirl is performing. September 11 sees Little Comets take the stage, and on September 21 Apollo Junction will play.

Bootleg Social is also hosting a tonne of gigs throughout the month and those looking for a night out, worlds away from the stag dos of Blackpool should check out their line up.

Blackpool hotel and bar up for grabs at auction

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The bar is close to Blackpool North train station in the northern quarter

 

R-Bar in Blackpool up for auction
R-Bar in Blackpool up for auction (Image: Pattison Auction)

A new and exciting opportunity to own a bar has come up for £250,000.

The bar, in Blackpool, also comes with a nine-bedroom hotel and is being sold by auction at a starting price of £250,000.

The property is situated in the heart of Blackpool’s northern quarter on Lord Street.

R-Bar has been operated as a bar and entertainment venue for a number of years and has a 1,033sqf main bar with concealed lighting, fitted bar, pumps and a range of optics.

Being auctioned by Pattinson Auction it is described as having a separate stage area, alcove seating and kitchen with a range of catering equipment to cater for all guests.

Christine’s Hotel also has seven to nine bedrooms which are all en-suite as well as a self-contained flat which includes an open plan lounge and kitchen, double ensuite bathroom and hallway.

Outside you will find a car park to the front with space for two to three vehicles and an enclosed licensed seating area to the side of the property with a canopy cover.

At the back of the building, there is a yard. There is also a self-contained flat which is on a shorthand tenancy of £340pcm.

The building has a mixed-use status of bar, hotel and bistro.

Viewing is highly recommended.

For further information please contact Pattinson Auction’s office direct on 0191 737 1154, or alternatively via e-mail at commercial@pattinson.co.uk. With regards to viewing the subject property, this is to be done strictly by appointment through Keith Pattinson Commercial department. Please contact them to arrange an internal inspection, or to register your interest.

 

Hero who alerted emergency services to drowning back up in court for harassing police officers

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A teenager who was hailed as a hero after alerting emergency services to a drowning man has been convicted of harassing police officers.

 

Kye Cudlip, 19, stood outside their station taking pictures of officers, their private cars and their police cars.

A court heard how his behaviour had become so intrusive that the teenager, of Ariel Way, Fleetwood, was arrested.

Cudlip admitted harassing five separate officers – two of them detectives – when he appeared before Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

Kye Cudlip, 19, stood outside the police station taking pictures of officers, their private cars and their police cars (Picture: The Gazette archive)Kye Cudlip, 19, stood outside the police station taking pictures of officers, their private cars and their police cars (Picture: The Gazette archive)

The court heard hew repeatedly took pictures of their faces and vehicles.

He also admitted using threatening behaviour towards one officer, using foul language as the officer left Blackpool’s divisional headquarters.

Cudlip also admitted threatening behaviour at Fleetwood ambulance station where staff saw him looking under their vehicles and looking inside them.

But in July, Cudlip raised the alarm when a man was heard crying for help out at sea.

He was already up to his neck in water – and his life was in serious danger.

Cudlip was out for a stroll to watch the sunset at the fisherman’s memorial on the promenade when he realised he could hear a voice.

He ran over to Fleetwood police station to use the phone and began to tell the operator what I had heard before running back to the scene to guide lifeboat crews,

Rescuers from Fleetwood and Knott End coastguard teams were guided by Kye to the voice in the water, and began to shine their torches in a bid to find the man before it was too late.

They set off illuminating flares, of which the fourth revealed a silhouette, alerting rescuers to the casualty’s position.

By this time he was up to his neck in water – and time was running out.

Rescuers branded Kye the “hero of the hour,” and said without his quick-thinking and swift action, the outcome could have been tragic. They had “no doubt he had contributed to saving a life.”

Kye’s bravery resulted in the casualty being taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital to be treated for water inhalation.

Patrick Nelligan, defending, said: “He now understands he must cease what he has been doing.

He now spends most of his time in his bedroom using his computer.”

Cudlip was given a one year community punishment with 15 days’ rehabilitation and a four week curfew. He must pay £180 costs.

Magistrates were told he is about to go to college on a photography course.

Blackpool MPs criticise their own Government over 223 asylum seekers being housed in Metropole Hotel

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The decision to house asylum seekers – who continue to sail across the Channel in their hundreds – in a prominent seafront hotel was described as a “panic measure” and “disproportionate and damaging” by the resort’s two Tory MPs, who yesterday rounded on their own Government.

 

There had been rumours the Metropole, which sits just yards from North Pier and Blackpool’s war memorial, would be used to house refugees fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan, with a worker at the Victorian venue – the only hotel in Blackpool to be on the seaward side of the Prom – saying it would not be accepting bookings for the next three months.

But it will actually house 223 migrants arriving in the country by boat, sparking fears over security, their safety, and the strain on public services.

Council leader Lynn Williams accused the Home Office of presenting the resort with a fait accompli and refusing to listen to reason or answer basic questions.

Scott Benton and Paul Maynard have criticised their own Government for placing asylum seekers in Blackpool

Scott Benton and Paul Maynard have criticised their own Government for placing asylum seekers in Blackpool

Scott Benton, MP for Blackpool South, and Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, also spoke out against the move as Whitehall bigwigs and hotel managers stayed silent.

Coun Williams said the council, police, and health leaders had all come out fighting, questioning why vulnerable people were being put up in such a high profile tourist location during the Illuminations without proper talks.

She accused the Government of failing to understand the town by ferrying hundreds of migrants to the Fylde coast just days after the Lights were switched on – and housing them a stone’s throw from the nightlife of Queen Street, North Pier, and the Tower.

“We’ve tried to make sense of this with the Home Office and raised numerous questions about how they arrived at this decision,”

223 asylum seekers will be housed in the Metropole Hotel on the Promenade

223 asylum seekers will be housed in the Metropole Hotel on the Promenade

Coun Williams said. “Most of these questions have fallen on deaf ears. We fully understand the pressures that the Government is facing in terms of the numbers of asylum-seekers crossing the Channel but, at the same time, the Home Office needs to understand that it cannot place people simply because it has a marriage of convenience with certain hotel operators.

“As a local authority, we are enormously sympathetic to the plight of refugees and are working with Lancashire to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees, but this is a very different situation.

“Such placements can only be made if there has been a thorough risk assessment undertaken as well as consultation with those agencies that will have to provide assistance for people who are in need of high levels of support.

“Given that the Home Office has avoided most of the questions we have asked, we have no details of where these 223 asylum-seekers are from, what specific needs they might have and how long they are going to be placed in temporary accommodation in the middle of one of our main tourism areas.”

Coun Williams said the relationship between the Home Office and Britannia Hotels, which runs the Metropole as well as the Blackpool Grand, Norbreck Castle, and the Savoy Hotel, is a “marriage of convenience”.

Staff at the Metropole declined to comment when a reporter visited the hotel – instead giving a number for Britannia’s head office, which did not comment.

In a similarly damning indictment of the Home Office, Mr Maynard said using the Metropole would be “deeply, deeply inappropriate” and branded it a “short-sighted panic measure which shows no concern for either refugees or local people”.

He said: “While we will always seek as a community to be welcoming to those in greatest need, a group of this size, placed in what is already one of the most deprived wards in the country, places a strain on the local community and services which already face immense challenges, and does not help the refugees in any way either.

“I have made clear that the Metropole is a deeply, deeply inappropriate choice of accommodation, no matter how short the duration of the stay.

“I had lengthy and forceful discussions with the relevant minister and am only disappointed he did not see fit to listen to my warnings.

“I will continue to urge ministers to move these individuals on to more sustainable settings urgently.”

Mr Benton added: “I have extremely strong reservations about this decision, especially in the heart of Blackpool.

“I have spent the past two weeks expressing these concerns robustly to ministers and I will continue to do so.

“Unfortunately, the level of illegal immigration is completely out of control and unacceptable.

“I fear that the burden of housing these asylum seekers has fallen disproportionately on northern towns like Blackpool whose public services are already stretched by high levels of deprivation and the impact of Covid-19.

“The introduction of 220 people with complex needs into Blackpool is of great concern, especially without proper risk assessments in place.

“I also believe using the Metropole hotel, in the heart of Blackpool’s tourism area, is unsuitable for such a large number of vulnerable people, especially during the Illuminations.

“Sadly, the Home Office has not provided sufficient consultation and is not taking residents’ views into account.

“I am aware that the decision has come about despite opposition from myself, the council and the Police.

“We have been left in the dark on several important questions including where these people came from and how long they will require temporary accommodation, important questions that need answering. In the meantime, I will continue to make it clear to ministers that this decision is disproportionate and damaging for Blackpool.”

The Home Office did not respond to a request for a comment.

Migrants continue to cross the English Channel, the day after hundreds were brought ashore in Kent.

Between 740 and 750 are believed to have arrived in the UK yesterday after making the trip from France in small boats, The Gazette understands.

Among them were several young children and a baby.

If confirmed, this could account for the second highest daily total of the year, following the single-day record of 828 people set last month.

Eye witnesses this morning reported boats arriving in Dover while the RNLI was seen towing another ashore further east in Kingsdown.

It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to discuss the matter with her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin, at the three-day G7 interior ministers’ meeting in London.

Earlier this year they announced an agreement to more than double the number of police patrolling French beaches.

It was the second pledge of its kind in a year, in a bid to prevent illegal migration and stop small boats from leaving France.

As part of the deal, the Government pledged to give France £54 million to support its efforts to stop small boat crossings.

Ms Patel has since told MPs she is prepared to withhold the promised funds unless there is an improvement in the number of migrants intercepted by French authorities, Government sources confirmed.

It is understood that none of the money has been paid so far.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said UK and French officials were “working on the implementation” of the deal and that “significant” funding provided in November had already led to increased patrols and “enhanced” intelligence”.

He added: “Following a long period of poor weather, we have seen an increase in crossings as criminal gangs seek to exploit the improved sea conditions.

“This is still extremely dangerous. We remain determined to fix the broken asylum system and break the business model of people smugglers who put lives at risk, and welcome people through safe and legal routes.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds called for the Government to focus on finding a “workable solution with the French authorities, tackling vile people-smuggling gangs and properly managing safe routes to prevent people risking their lives”.

At least 12,500 people have now made the crossing to the UK in 2021, according to data compiled by PA.

The perilous journey across the busy Dover Strait shipping lanes which separate Britain from the continent has claimed several lives, including that of a man from Eritrea last month.

The 27-year-old died after he and four other people jumped overboard as their boat started to sink as they tried to reach Britain.

The Home Office has repeatedly vowed to make the route “unviable”, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisting that Ms Patel is “working around the clock” to address the matter.

 

Holidays delay efforts to restore routine treatments at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The combined impact of health workers having to self-isolate, being sick themselves and also taking their annual holidays has slowed down efforts at Fylde coast hospitals to restore treatments to pre-Covid levels and cut waiting lists.

 

But bosses hope the pace of restoration will pick up in September as staffing levels return to normal.

Natalie Hudson, chief operating officer at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals (BTH) NHS Trust told a meeting of the board the restoration programme had suffered in July and August.

The Government’s £160m national elective accelerator programme had aimed to see hospitals offer 120 per cent of their pre-Covid activity levels by July.

Staffing levels have effected the hospital's restoration programme

Staffing levels have effected the hospital’s restoration programme

Ms Hudson said many staff had had to self-isolate in July and August, which were also peak months for taking annual leave which people needed after working hard during the pandemic.

This was “coupled with GP services which were severely stretched and struggling to meet demand”, while restrictions on social care packages had meant some patients could not be discharged quickly to their own homes.

Efforts to outsource work in order to reduce waiting times had also been hit because those companies also had reduced staffing levels for the same reasons.

But Ms Hudson said BTH had shown “really strong performance on restoration” by comparison to other areas of the country while “recognising it’s nowhere near the 120 per cent of the national accelerator target that we wanted to meet.”

Restorations levels in July were just below 100 per cent but the meeting heard plans are in place to improve this as part of an elective improvement programme.

These include maximising operating theatre efficiency and getting more patients onto the endoscopy list (enabling more internal examinations).