The Prime Minister said last night:
“Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment where no health service in the world could possibly cope, because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses”.
“To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it, meaning more people are likely to die, not just from Coronavirus but from other illnesses as well”.
Leaked memo gives details of terrifying situation
Currently the group of London hospitals which includes Charing Cross, Hammersmith, and St Marys (Imperial Trust) is looking after 99 patients with the Coronavirus, out of 234 patients in London.
According to a leaked NHS memo, the rate of the infection is spreading, and the number of new cases is doubling every three days, so by next Saturday, 28 March, the expectation is that there will be 1000 patients with the virus needing to be treated as inpatients across London hospitals, 300 of them being looked after by Imperial Trust. It is likely that at least 60 of these will need to be on ventilators in intensive care.
The Trust has in total about 1,300 beds, and are expecting the intensive care units at Charing Cross, St Mary’s and Hammersmith hospitals will all be full of patients with Covid-19 by early April.
The epidemic is expected to peak mid-April, by which time London is expecting to have 32,000 cases. The Trust will have exceeded both their bed capacity and the availability of ventilators before the peak hits. Almost all other work including for cancer patients has already been stopped in the Trust’s hospitals, and all others across London.
Urgent Treatment centres
The Urgent Treatment Centre at Hammersmith Hospital closed on Friday. Urgent treatment centres are an alternative to A&E. They are centres that treat minor injuries and illness that require urgent treatment that cannot be seen by your registered GP.
The Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group, which runs it, issued a statement saying:
“This is an unavoidable decision, taken as an emergency measure to help us deal with the developing major incident around COVID-19. We plan to return to business as usual once the emergency is over.”
The Urgent Treatment Centre at Charing Cross hospital remains open.