Covid patients 'being moved to hospitals 65 MILES away' as 'oxygen and beds' run out

PATIENTS are reportedly being moved to hospitals 65 miles away as beds and oxygen run out as Covid admissions rise.

NHS critical care doctor Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden tweeted last night "one trust has no non-invasive machines left".

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The president of the Doctors' Association UK also warned: "Hospitals are running out of oxygen.

"ICUs are tweeting for volunteers to prone patients. Transfer teams being requested to move patients 65+ miles to nearest hospital with critical care capacity."

Over the weekend Queen Elizabeth Hospital in southeast London declared an internal incident over concerns on oxygen supplies.

The Independent reported the hospital called in extra staff and diverted emergency ambulance patients to King's College Hospital and St Thomas' Hospital.

A Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust spokesperson confirmed the incident was "a precautionary step due to the high number of Covid-positive patients we are seeing at the hospital".

They added: "We have been following our plan to cope with a second wave of Covid-19 and are working closely with hospital and healthcare partners in south east London.

“All our patients have received the treatment they need, including intensive care treatment for Covid-19 and oxygen therapy as required. We are continuing to monitor the situation to ensure that this remains the case.”

A number of hospitals in London have been forced to declare incidents in the past fortnight as coronavirus cases rise in the capital.

Hospital admission have increased throughout December, with the UK seeing the highest number of cases in 24 hours ever yesterday, 41,385.

The number of people being treated for the killer bug in hospitals in England is around 20,426, compared to 18,974 patients recorded on April 12.

Medics have warned of cases rising at "unprecedented levels" as hospitals feel the strain with admission numbers matching the April peak.

Dr Andrew Lansdown, a consultant endocrinologist at the University
Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, said: "It's starting to sound a bit like a cliche but it really is true that these are unprecedented times, we really have felt stretched to the limit. 

"In the past week or two things have become relentless, we're under extreme pressure and the numbers of patients coming through now with coronavirus are massive."


Dr Yvonne Doyle, Public Health England medical director, said: "This very high level of infection is of growing concern at a time when our hospitals are at their most vulnerable, with new admissions rising in many regions."

She added: "Despite unprecedented levels of infection, there is hope on the horizon."

NHS boss Sir Simon Stevens has predicted that 22million Brits will be vaccinated by spring.

Sir Simon called it “the ­biggest chink of hope for the year ahead”.

He added: "We are back in the eye of the storm with a second wave of coronavirus sweeping Europe and, indeed, this country.

“We think by late spring, with vaccine supplies continuing to come on stream, we will have been able to offer all vulnerable people across this country Covid vaccination.

“That perhaps provides the biggest chink of hope for the year ahead.”

Inside a London A&E:

A London A&E doctor has warned that the capital's hospitals are very close to becoming overwhelmed if coronavirus infection rates are not brought under control.

Dr Sonia Adesara said: "The hospitals are extremely busy – we have seen a massive rise in people coming in with Covid-19 over the past week and this is on top of an increase in the non-Covid cases we see at this time of year.

"Just like the first wave we are also suffering from staff shortages, staff are getting Covid-19 again and it is extremely difficult, the hospitals are very full."

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, she said: "The situation is untenable and I think we are very close to becoming overwhelmed."

Dr Adesara said ambulance queues are now commonplace as a shortage of beds means they are unable to offload their patients.

But she said compared to April, medical staff were getting much, much better and more experienced at treating the virus.

Despite the rise in cases across the country, Nightingale centres have been left empty.

The majority of the seven Nightingale facilities across the country have not started treating coronavirus patients yet.

Only the Exeter Nightingale has been treating patients since mid-November.

And London's Nightingale was shut and placed on standby soon after it was built.

Meanwhile, London Ambulance Service (LAS) received as many emergency calls on 26 December as it did at the height of the first wave of Covid-19, the BBC reports.

Nearly 8,000 calls were received, a 40% increase on a typical "busy" day.

One London paramedic told the BBC that some patients were being treated in ambulance bays upon arrival at hospital, due to a lack of beds inside.


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