Top London hospital ‘on track to be almost Covid-only’

The University College Hospital, one of London’s biggest, is battling to accommodate the accelerating number of Covid-19 infected persons across the British capital, saying that it was “on track to be almost Covid-only” as intensive care patients was soaring.

The hospital is scrambling to convert operating theatres and stroke wards into intensive care units (ICU), Xinhua news agency quoted the Guardian newspaper as saying in a report on Sunday.

Critical care matron Elaine Thorpe told the newspaper that she and her colleagues had set up 20 new ICU beds on Christmas Eve, which were full by New Year’s Eve.

“The biggest thing for me is I’m dreadfully worried about my team. Nurses are having to spread themselves thinly. We’re going back to the levels where we were before, where it was one ICU (intensive care unit) nurse looking after what will be four patients, or more. And we’ve had lots of tears already,” she was quoted as saying in the Guardian report.

The 500-bed hospital had 220 Covid-19 patients as of December 31, 2020, with the numbers increasing by 5 per cent a day, according to the newspaper.

However, the real pressure is on the ICUs where there are now 70 seriously ill patients, and the number is rising fast, chief executive of the University College London hospitals trust Marcel Levi told the the Guardian.

Latest figures from the National Health Service (NHS) suggested that 629 patients with Covid-19 symptoms were admitted to hospitals across London on December 27, 2020, 22 more than the previous day and extending a steady upward curve in recent weeks.

Across London, the number of hospital beds filled with Covid-19 patients stood at 5,371 on December 29, 2020, more than 400 above the previous day’s total and nearly double the level on December 19, 2020, the London-based Evening Standard newspaper reported.