Pressure on Airedale Hospital’s hard-pressed accident and emergency services was constantly high over the festive break, with admission numbers almost doubling on one day.

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

Friday, 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 that 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 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, which was around the average expected for this time of year.

A spokesman said there was not a single event or circumstance such as the bad weather that had triggered the big numbers of admissions and thanks to more GP surgeries staying open over 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 over the weekend,” said Mrs Hunter.

Among those opening were Cross Hills Group Practice, Grassington Surgery, Townhead at Settle, and Silsden Group Practice.