‘Tsunami' of coronavirus cases facing London’s hospitals

Chris Hopson has warned that London hospitals are facing a ‘tsunami’ of coronavirus cases and are beginning to run out of intensive care beds.

With a third of coronavirus cases having been diagnosed in the capital, the head of NHS Providers said that, while critical care capacity had been expanded, hospitals in London had seen an ‘explosion’ in demand, with high staff absence rates creating a ‘wicked combination’.

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 per cent, 40 per cent and indeed in some places 50 per cent sickness rates as staff catch the virus or are in vulnerable groups or have to self-isolate. That's unprecedented."

Hospital bosses are preparing for the peak of the disease, expected in a few weeks time. As well as venues, such as London’s ExCeL Centre opening as field hospitals, the NHS has also cancelled all routine operations, such as hip and knee replacements, from next month, with ongoing efforts to get as many patients discharged from hospital who do not need to be there. It is hoped that the two measures could free up 30,000 of the 100,000 hospital beds in England alone.

The NHS is also aiming to get up to 12,000 intensive care beds in total by sourcing extra ventilators.

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