A LONDON hospital boss has warned it's on the brink of only treating Covid patients – while one of Britain's busiest hospitals warned it's in "disaster mode" as coronavirus cases continue to spiral out of control.
University College Hospital revealed their intensive care unit was under "real pressure" while Royal London Hospital warned "things are going to get harder before they get better" in the fight against the bug.
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And the head of University College London Hospitals Trust warned they were getting to a point where they might only be able to admit patients with coronavirus.
Trust chief executive Professor Marcel Levi told The Guardian: "The 500-bed hospital has 220 Covid patients, with the numbers increasing by 5% a day, but the real pressure is on intensive care where there are now 70 very sick patients, as there were in the spring, and the number is rising fast.
"Usually in our ITU we have about 35 patients so we are already doubled in size at UCLH. We are further surging upon the request of London to 92 patients in the next week, and thereafter probably we will have to grow even further."
It comes after Professor Hugh Montgomery, who works at the intensive care medicine branch at University College London, took aim at the public for not wearing masks.
He told Radio 5 Live: "Anyone who is listening to this, who doesn't wear their masks and behaves like this… They have blood on their hands, they are spreading this virus, then other people will spread it and people will die."
He added: "I'm watching whole families getting wiped out here. It has to stop."
In an email from the Royal London Hospital, seen by The Times, staff were warned: “We are now in disaster medicine mode. We are no longer providing high standard critical care, because we cannot.
“While this is far from ideal, it’s the way things are, and the way they have to be for now. Things are going to get harder before they get better.”
Management said in the email that “every hospital in northeast London is struggling”, and that the rest of the city would be in a similar position in a fortnight.
The NHS has come under severe pressure as a highly contagious new strain of Covid tears through London and the South East, as health experts have begged the public to stay at home.
Britain saw its highest ever daily rise in coronavirus cases yesterday with 55,892 infections reported in the past 24 hours.
A further 964 deaths were recorded, bringing the total number of fatalities to 73,512.
Just under half of all major hospital trusts in England currently have more Covid-19 patients than at the peak of the first wave of the virus, latest figures show.
Some 64 out of 140 acute NHS trusts were recording a higher number of Covid-19 patients at 8am on December 30 than at any point between mid-March and the end of May.
This includes 11 of the 14 acute trusts in eastern England and 12 of the 19 acute trusts in south-east England.
Meanwhile, staff at the North East and Central London Adult Critical Care Network were warned that demand was outstripping resources in many hospitals.
The network, which covers 17 hospitals in London and Essex, reportedly said it was “beyond full” and “needs help” to cope with a shortage of nurses and rapidly depleting oxygen supplies.
The note added that the network was dangerously close to full capacity with 235 patients in 236 beds, 160 of whom were battling Covid-19 – with further patients expected.
Oxygen use at Queen’s Hospital in Romford was also reported to be so high that doctors were forced to approve reduced targets for patients – though medics insisted this was a safe move.
According to the note, staffing numbers at the Trust were also said to be “dire” with 28 critical care nurses and seven nurses with less training currently caring for 68 patients.
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