Critical care beds 90pc full as hospital deals with record surge

Queen's Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford

The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital beds at the Barking, Havering and Redbridge trust rose from 356 to 456 in a week. - Credit: Archant

The Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS trust (BHRUT) has recorded its largest one-week increase in coronavirus cases since the beginning of the second wave.  

The latest data saw cases leap by almost 30 per cent.  

The statistics were released after the Romford Recorder reported that patients were being treated in the back of ambulances outside the King George because there was no space inside.  

All staff leave in January has been cancelled and medical students and trainee nurses are being drafted in to cope with demand.  

The latest data on critical care beds – up to January 3 – shows the trust was using 91.3pc of its critical care capacity.  

Figures on overall hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients goes up to January 5, when the trust had 456 coronavirus inpatients.  


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A week earlier the number had been 356.  

A member of staff revealed last week that almost every patient being seen by King George’s A&E staff had the virus, many so ill they could not even sit up.   

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A nurse said: “When we had 20 ambulances outside, I only saw one patient who was even able to sit up and they were all short of breath. It can be three hours or more until a bed becomes available.” 

Queen’s has reportedly turned its medical records department into an ambulance receiving centre to help cope with demand.  

Queen's Hospital, Romford. Picture: Ken Mears

Official data shows that by January 3, BHRUT's critical care beds were already more than 90 per cent full. - Credit: Ken Mears

The latest data shows infections in Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham are now overtaking Havering.  

The latest Havering infection rate, based on government testing up to January 6, was 1,210 confirmed cases per 100,000 people. 

Two weeks earlier, it had been 1,323.  

But in the other two boroughs, the situation was worsening.  

On December 23, Redbridge had 1,203 cases per 100,000 people. Two weeks later, on January 6, it had risen to 1,382.  

In Barking and Dagenham, the rate on December 23 was 1,143 cases per 100,000.  

Two weeks later, on January 6, it had shot up by more than 37pc, hitting 1,569 cases per 100,000.  

The Office for National Statistics has estimated that the true infection rate in Barking and Dagenham could be more than four times higher. 

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