Warning northern NHS hospitals ‘to have to start moving patients’ across UK

Northern NHS hospitals might have to start moving patients to other areas to stop them from being overrun, medics say.

But they fear things will become difficult if the whole country starts to struggle.

They have warned intensive care units (ICU) in areas including Liverpool, Manchester and Hull are close to capacity due to the second wave of coronavirus.

Hospitals in the north are already above the limit in some parts, according to reports.

Space in ICUs is normally tight in winter anyway due to seasonal flu infections, without the heavy pressure brought by coronavirus.

Doctors say the health service will be overwhelmed within weeks if Covid-19 infections don’t begin to drop, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Dr Vishal Sharma, chairman of the British Medical Association’s consultants committee, told the newspaper: "Capacity in the north of England is at the limits and in some places above the limit.

"Our next concern is ICU capacity, which is always tight at this time of year, even without Covid.

"We may have to move patients around the country to create extra capacity, but if the whole country starts to struggle things will get very difficult."

He warned parts of Liverpool, Manchester and Hull have started to cancel elective surgery in order to free up hospital beds.

  • Northern NHS hospitals running out of Covid beds, leaked document says

Dr Sharma added: "The pinch point will come in the next three or four weeks. If the transmission rate doesn't start to fall we risk being overwhelmed."

It is hoped the reopening of Manchester's Nightingale Hospital will help ease the pressure on ICU.

Another 326 deaths were reported on Saturday, bringing the UK’s total up to 46,555.

Figures show 10,918 patients were in hospital with coronavirus, with 978 in ventilator beds.

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