Intensive care beds are just one of a string of thing running out in London hospitals, as the city’s health services looks set to face a “tsunami” in new virus cases. Many hospitals have been described as being at a critical point, according to the BBC.
Chris Hopson, of NHS Providers, a service that represents the NHS told the corporation that despite critical care capacity having been expanded, the capital had seen an “explosion” in demand.
So far, a third of UK cases have been recorded in the city.
In what has been described by Mr Hopson as a “wicked combination”, high staff absence rates were leading to a seriously deficient health service.
He said: “They are struggling with two things.
“The first is the explosion of demand they are seeing in seriously ill patients.
“They talk about wave after wave after wave – the word that’s often used to me is a continuous tsunami.
“We are now seeing 30 percent, 40 percent and indeed in some places 50 percent sickness rates as staff catch the virus or are in vulnerable groups or have to self-isolate.
More than half a million people offered their services, which will see Britons help deliver food and medicines, drive patients to appointments and phone the isolated.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling them that they could now plan an “absolutely crucial” role.
Last week, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust admitted it had started to turn coronavirus patients away, and said it has been forced to transfer patients with COVID-19 to neighbouring hospitals.
A senior clinician at the trust revealed that only one patient had been admitted to intensive care out of a group of five who were eligible, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The trust insists, however, that all who have required ventilation have so far received it.
Dr Simon Walsh, the British Medical Association for emergency care, said: “Most hospitals have already managed to double their critical care capacity but the worrying thing I am hearing is that some units around London are already filled to capacity and some are exceeding capacity.”
He lamented the lack of staff testing currently being carried out for COVID-19, becoming the latest senior medic to criticise the health services treatment of staff during the pandemic.
He said while the bigger departments might be able to absorb staff absences, specialist units and smaller hospitals are likely to suffer.
He added that he was aware of paediatric emergency departments were already at a loss in staff, with some 25 – 30 percent of doctors there already self-isolating.
At the time, a government source told The Telegraph: “In London, the situation is already looking like one of the worst winters we could remember – elderly people needing ventilators and just not enough of them to go round.
“We were already under pressure, the situation is deteriorating pretty fast.”