Nurses sent to London as capital face tsunami of virus patients | World news

Nurses will be relocated to London from other parts of England under NHS plans to help hospitals in the capital face a “tsunami” of Covid-19 patients within a few days, the Guardian learned.

What do the restrictions entail?

People in the UK will only be able to leave home for the following purposes:

  • Shop for basic needs, as rarely as possible
  • One form of exercise per day – such as a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your family
  • Any medical need, to provide assistance or to help a vulnerable person
  • Traveling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home

The police will have the power to enforce the rules, including through fines and missing meetings. To ensure compliance with the instructions to stay home, the government will:

  • Close all stores selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronics stores and other venues including libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship
  • Stop all meetings of more than two people in public, excluding the people you live with
  • Stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, excluding funerals

The parks will remain open for business, but meetings will be dispersed.

In an unprecedented package of measures, the NHS will also ask doctors to sleep on the spot for six weeks at the newly built Nightingale hospital, discarding limits on the number of patients that nurses can take care of in intensive care units and explore whether the fans are intended for one person and can be used for two.

NHS England has also asked its network of regional nurse chiefs if they can save staff, particularly ICU specialists, to work in London during the height of the pandemic, which is expected to begin early next month.

The moves emerged when the total number of reported deaths in the UK rose to 578; an official said the national health service faced an “extreme peak” of critically ill patients early next month.

The plans are part of a series of measures developed in recent days by senior officials from the London region of NHS England and disclosed to the Guardian.

National health service providers, who represent hospital trusts, have warned that some hospitals in the capital are filling up so quickly with people left seriously ill with coronavirus that they will soon be full.

Last week, Northwick Park hospital in north-west London had to declare a “critical accident” after running out of space to allow Covid-19 patients and doctors to intubate them (insert a tube) into so you can put them on a fan.

Officials involved in the NHS emergency preparedness effort in London revealed that:

  • The lack of fans forced the NHS planners to explore whether a machine could be used to keep two patients alive, dramatically increasing capacity in one fell swoop.

  • London will have 7,500 ICU beds by the end of next week – 27 times more than the 275 it had before the outbreak began in January.

  • There is concern that lack of oxygen could hinder the unit to save lives through the massive expansion of intensive care capacity: hospitals will need daily deliveries for the maintenance of all extra fans.

  • Doctors from the newly created Nightingale hospital at London’s ExCel center who take care of thousands of patients receiving death or death care will work there for at least six weeks, working five days in a row before taking a break – and sleep on the spot.

  • The only number of patients who get sick will see the usual staff relationships in the ICU units temporarily accustomed, so that an ICU nurse takes care of six patients instead of one: in what the doctors privately warned was a “incredible” relaxation that would have hit the standard of care.

Chris Hopson, managing director of national health service providers, said London hospitals have expanded critical care capacity five to seven times in the past few weeks, but the heads of those hospitals have been alarmed at how quickly the beds are filling up in the capital.

He said the problems were exacerbated by the fact that medical personnel were ill with suspected coronavirus or in vulnerable groups, with 30-50% of people not working in some trusts.


He did not mention the trust in which 50% of the staff is currently ill or self-insulating because someone in his family has symptoms, but it is a London trust.

The heads of the National Health Service are concerned that the London ambulance service is already tense enough to make it difficult to cope with the 100 extra patients a day it should bring to the hospital. He plans to meet this challenge by using 20-25 vehicles usually used to take patients to non-urgent appointments, which have few medical facilities on board, and to hire taxis and call services for people who have been denied normal transportation.

London’s private hospitals have offered to provide 111 intensive care beds to help the NHS and 1,300 “lowered” beds for patients leaving the NHS hospitals. They will also provide staff and equipment.

As a sign of the huge number of people who should be in need of critical care when disease rates in the rest of England become as high as London, the NHS also plans to open “field hospitals” for Covid-19 patients in Manchester. and Birmingham, based on the ongoing transformation at the ExCel center. Officials are examining the National Exhibition Center next to Birmingham airport as a likely venue.

In addition, the army, which is playing a key role in providing supplies of personal protective equipment to hospitals and general practitioners, is building a new ward for seriously ill patients in the Wigan hospital parking lot. Experts believe that the north of England will begin to see Covid-19 disease rates comparable to those of London in about two weeks.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Hopson said, “They [London trusts] they are struggling with the explosion of demand in seriously ill patients. They are saying that it is the incoming number, the speed with which they arrive and how sick they are. They speak wave after wave after wave.

“The words I have used are that it is a continuous tsunami. As I have been told, it is a much larger and larger number with a greater degree of elongation than you can ever imagine.

“CEOs are concerned that all that additional capacity is now very, very quickly exhausted. We have overload capacity at the ExCel center but this is filling up very quickly. “

The concern whether ministers could have prepared themselves better for the pandemic will likely be heightened by comments from Sir David King, the former chief scientific adviser to the government.

He told reporters that the government had been warned of the dangers of epidemics that swept the UK four years ago.

“In 2016 there was a report indicating that our hospitals would not be ready for an epidemic of this type, but it was not made public,” he said.

An SSN spokesman said: “London staff are responding to more confirmed coranavirus patients than in other regions of the country at this stage, as well as increasing” increase “capacity in London hospitals, we are also implementing other options, including new facilities such as NHS Nightingale London and capacity utilization in the private sector.

“But it is absolutely vital that this massive mobilization by the NHS be accompanied by public action, which means following the doctor’s advice literally – please stay home to save lives.”

Additional reports: Caroline Bannock, Sarah Marsh and Fiona Harvey

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