London patients in extremely bad condition will be moved to Yorkshire hospitals as the UK’s NHS is facing a massive COVID-19 crisis.
According to the Health Service Journal, there have been requests to transfer intensive care unit patients from the capital to a few big hospitals in the city of Yorkshire.
It isn’t yet clear whether the transfers have already started, according to Mirror, which also claimed that one person has been transferred from East Kent to Plymouth.
The decision comes as intensive care units in London and the South East are being overwhelmed with patients, according to leaked NHS data.
On Monday intensive care units in East England were at 100% capacity.
It is being projected that numbers will substantially rise amid the new wave of patients.
London’s number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in critical condition more than doubled in a matter of two weeks.
NHS staff are at breaking point. They are trying to speak up about how bad things are on the frontline but are being shot down on Twitter. Today we learnt that we have more patients with COVID in hospital than ever before in the England. This is not a drill. Please believe us 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/2ADRik5jIS
— Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden (@sbattrawden) December 28, 2020
While patients in critical condition have been moved to different hospitals in the past for all kinds of illnesses, long transfers are uncommon.
A senior critical care source told the Health Service Journal:
“While we’d usually keep (ICU) mutual aid within a region, it means the whole country is stepping up to support patients.”
A clinician from London added:
“Capacity in London is looking very serious at the moment: the numbers are still going up.
“Several hospitals are either at or near their full surge capacity.”
NHS data shows that there were 20,426 patients in NHS hospitals in England at 8 am last Monday, compared with 18,974 on April 12.
We are reaching a critical point in our ability to effectively care for patients in the NHS.
The action of everyone makes a huge difference, in particular in what happens in several weeks time when this situation will otherwise be even worse
— Duncan Bew (@duncanbew) December 28, 2020
The rising number of cases has led some medical experts to call for stricter lockdown measures.
According to professor of infectious diseases epidemiology at University College London, Andrew Hayward, widespread Tier 4 restrictions – or higher – will most likely be needed as the UK moves towards “near-lockdown”.
Mr. Hayward told BBC’s Radio 4:
“I think we are entering a very dangerous new phase of the pandemic and we’re going to need decisive, early, national action to prevent a catastrophe in January and February.”
On the question of whether a national Tier 4 lockdown should be ushered in, Saffron Cordery, the NHS Providers deputy chief executive told BBC Radio Five Live:
“I think we need to see, yes, as much of the country as possible in Tier 4.”
She stressed that some trusts have reported up to 3 times the number of COVID-19 patients as at the height of the first wave.
As of today there are 20,426 Covid patients in hospitals in England – the highest number ever recorded, even at April's peak.
There is no denying the gravity of where we are.
Hospitals are overwhelmed. Staff are on their knees.
Please do not believe anyone claiming otherwise.
— Rachel Clarke (@doctor_oxford) December 28, 2020
Attesting to the seriousness of the situation, experts in the midst of the coronavirus battle have found themselves just days away from having to make “horrendous choices” over who they can treat and who will be left to die, a consultant warned, according to the Daily Mail.
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