London hospital in ‘disaster medicine mode’ and ‘can’t provide high standard care’ due to surge in coronavirus patients

A hospital is in ‘disaster medicine mode’ and unable to provide ‘high standard critical care’ because it is understaffed and swamped by Covid-19 patients.

A campaigning doctor revealed on Twitter that the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel had sent an email to notify staff of the dire situation.

The leaked email warned that the Royal London has only one nurse for every three Covid patients being treated in intensive care, the Mirror Online reports.

It comes a day after senior medics at the east London hospital urged bosses to declare a major incident because staff were at a “breaking point” as the number of coronavirus patients tripled in just five days – from 200 on Christmas Eve to 638 on Tuesday.

As hospitals across the UK come under increasing strain during the devastating second wave of Covid-19, Dr Julie Grace Patterson tweeted: “From the Royal London Hospital, this email from management: ‘We are now in disaster medicine mode.

“‘We are no longer providing high standard critical care, because we cannot’. The content of this email is SHOCKING.”

NHS hospitals in England are treating a record number of Covid-19 patients
(Image: Getty Images)

The leaked email from management read: “We are now in disaster medicine mode. We are no longer providing high standard critical care, because we cannot.

“While this is far from ideal, it’s the way things are, and the way they have to be for now.”

Management also revealed: “Every hospital in North East London is struggling, some with insufficient oxygen supplies, all with insufficient nursing numbers.

“Believe it or not, Royal London critical care is coping well relative to some sites.”

The note to staff warned: “Kent is in a similar, if not worse, position.”

Medics were also told “things are going to get harder before they get better”.

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Dr Patterson also claimed: “I’ve just seen evidence from Newham Hospital. They need 23 nurses to staff A and E safely tonight

“They are missing 10 nurses due to sickness. This is happening all over. It is an emergency.

“The government must return to Westminster to implement policy to save lives.”

Professor Alistair Chesser, group chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs Royal London and Newham University hositals, said: “The rapid expansion of intensive care beds in our hospitals has led to necessary changes in the clinical staffing model, in line with national guidance.

“Despite this, our dedicated staff are providing high quality care for all who need it thanks to their dedication and skill.”

(Image: PA)

NHS hospitals in England are treating a record number of Covid-19 patients, and admissions in London have soared in recent days due to a new, more infectious variant of the disease.

Just under half of all major hospital trusts in England currently have more Covid-19 patients than at the peak of the first wave of the virus, latest figures show.

Nightingale hospitals across England are being “readied” for use if needed as Covid patient numbers rise.

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This week, ambulances have been seen queueing outside hospitals including the Royal London and Queen’s in Romford, both in east London, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

Earlier on Thursday, NHS England reported an additional 529 coronavirus deaths, including 106 in London.

A clinician from the Royal London’s A&E department claimed patients have been forced to wait more than 24 hours for a bed as A&E doctors and nurses were at a “breaking point”.

The number of Covid-19 patients at the hospital had increased by 200 in a matter of days, hitting a crisis point on Sunday nightwhen it was forced to open a new ward and treat adults in a paediatric ward, the Independent reported.

Some sick patients waited hours for an ambulance and gave up, taking a taxi to the hospital instead to beat the queue.

Covid wards are under increasing pressure
(Image: PA)

It is said the Royal London issued multiple major incident appeals to staff to come in to work on Sunday and Monday, and urged consultant to review patients for discharge while dozens waited for beds to become free.

The clinician told the Independent on Wednesday: “We tried to get management to declare a major incident. Ambulances were waiting three hours to offload patients, and adult patients were being treated in the paediatric department because there was no room.

“We ran out of space (by) early evening and patients had been waiting in the department for over 24 hours. We had patients who waited hours for an ambulance but got a taxi in the end and they were so unwell.”

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“This is a classic rising-tide major incident. The threat (of a major incident) on Sunday night did alleviate things and we converted two more wards to Covid, but I have never in all my years seen anything like this. It’s worse than March or April.”

Local authorities in Essex have declared a “major incident” as the number of coronavirus cases threatens to overwhelm health services in the county.

Just under half of all major hospital trusts in England currently have more Covid-19 patients than at the peak of the first wave of the virus, latest figures show.

An ambulance at The Royal London Hospital on December 31
(Image: Getty Images)

Some 64 out of 140 acute NHS trusts were recording a higher number of coronavirus patients at 8am on December 30 than at any point between mid-March and the end of May.

This includes 11 of the 14 acute trusts in eastern England and 12 of the 19 acute trusts in South East England.

The figures, which have been published on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard, also show that 42 of the 140 acute trusts had more Covid-19 patients on December 30 than at any point since the pandemic began.

Nightingale hospitals across England are being “readied” for use if needed as Covid patient numbers rise.

The NHS in London has been asked to make sure the Excel centre site is “reactivated and ready to admit patients” as hospitals in the capital struggle.

Other Nightingale hospital sites across England include Manchester, Bristol, Sunderland, Harrogate, Exeter and Birmingham.

Medics at Manchester’s Nightingale hospital earlier this year (stock image)
(Image: Joel Goodman)

This includes 11 of the 14 acute trusts in eastern England and 12 of the 19 acute trusts in South East England.

The figures, which have been published on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard, also show that 42 of the 140 acute trusts had more Covid-19 patients on December 30 than at any point since the pandemic began.

Nightingale hospitals across England are being “readied” for use if needed as Covid patient numbers rise.

The NHS in London has been asked to make sure the Excel centre site is “reactivated and ready to admit patients” as hospitals in the capital struggle.

Other Nightingale hospital sites across England include Manchester, Bristol, Sunderland, Harrogate, Exeter and Birmingham.

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