Preparations are well underway to reopen the mothballed NHS Nightingale Hospital in London as a huge mass vaccination center and facility for patients recovering from coronavirus.
The photos taken this morning showed ambulances lined up outside the ExCeL center in Newham, east London, as trucks arrived in front of NHS workers, who were using the 100-acre site as a huge hospital starting next week.
The ExCeL provides rehabilitation for patients recovering from hospitalization who are not Covid-19 positive with the intention of freeing up more beds in other hospitals for coronavirus patients.
However, there have been concerns about the ability to properly man the site. Around 50,000 NHS workers are currently ill. The number of beds is expected to depend on the demand and availability of staff.
It comes eight months after the ExCeL closed as a hospital on May 15 last year and treated about 50 patients, although it was originally planned to have up to 4,000 beds after it opened by Prince Charles on April 3.
The flagship Nightingale was one of seven open to big fanfare at the start of the pandemic, along with centers in Birmingham, Manchester, Exeter, Harrogate in North Yorkshire, Bristol and Washington in Tyne and Wear.
Elderly members of the royal family, including Camilla and Prince William, opened three of the hospitals remotely in April, while NHS charity hero Captain Tom Moore dismantled someone else's virtual bureaucracy.
But they were barely used and there were growing concerns about whether they ever will be – with doctors warning that there will not be enough staff and therefore not enough staff for the hospitals when they reopen.
The ExCeL has now also been announced as one of the first seven mass vaccination centers to open next week to help vaccinate the 13 million in the four priority groups by mid-February.
Ambulances were lined up outside the ExCel in East London today and preparations are well underway to convert it back into a hospital
Trucks arrive at the ExCel today before NHS staff start using the 100-acre site as a giant hospital starting next week
The ExCel is becoming a huge mass vaccination center and facility for patients recovering from coronavirus
It was originally planned to start delivering lugs three weeks ago. The other six regional vaccination centers, which will open within a few days, are located on Epsom Racecourse. the Etihad Tennis Center in Manchester; the center for life in Newcastle; Millennium Point in Birmingham; Robertson House in Stevenage; and Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol.
The ExCeL will be at the heart of the London Mass Vaccination Program, which runs seven days a week from 8am to 8pm. Other London locations offered for use by the NHS include the G-A-Y nightclub.
Six out of ten hospital trusts have more Covid patients than the peak of the first wave
More than half of all major hospital trusts in England currently have more Covid-19 patients than at the height of the first virus wave, new analyzes show.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a "major incident", saying the spread of the coronavirus threatens to overwhelm the capital's hospitals.
In two regions – East England and South East England – more than three-quarters of the trusts are above their first wave peak.
Other trusts have grown so rapidly in numbers that they have peaked in the first wave within days.
The analysis found that of 139 acute hospital trusts reporting numbers for January 5, 84 – or 60 percent – had more Covid-19 patients than at the height of the first wave in Spring 2020.
- East Suffolk & North Essex, which confirmed 367 Covid-19 patients at 8 a.m. on January 5, compared to a first wave peak of 143.
- Barts in London, where there were 830 Covid-19 patients on Jan. 5, compared to a first wave peak of 606.
- Portsmouth Hospitals University with 457 patients compared to a first wave peak of 244.
- Derby and Burton University Hospitals with 426 patients versus a first wave peak of 252.
- Hull University teaching hospitals, which hit 208 on Jan. 5, compared to a first wave peak of 112.
A majority of the acute trusts in London – 14 out of 23 – currently have higher patient scores than they did at the height of the first wave.
The same goes for the South West of England (11 out of 15) and the Midlands (16 out of 23).
The proportion is even higher in South East England (15 out of 18) and East England (13 out of 14).
In northern England, however, most trusts are still below their first wave high.
Some trusts in northern areas hit record highs in the fall and then fell back before Christmas, only to rise more recently.
One example is the Liverpool University Hospitals Trust, which peaked at 475 patients on October 30th, followed by falling to 112 by December 13th, which is now 248.
Acute Trusts manage all major hospitals in England with A&E departments, inpatient and outpatient surgeries and specialized medical care.
The total number of Covid-19 patients in all hospitals in England – including mental health and community trusts – is currently 28,246. That is 49 percent more than the first wave peak of 18,974 on April 12th.
All figures are based on the latest available data from NHS England.
However, according to a handbook made for volunteers by the Barts Health NHS Trust, the ExCeL should already be open and vaccinating the vulnerable.
It says: "The vaccination center is to open on December 14th. It will then steadily increase its capacity and should be fully utilized by April 2021."
In London, the epicenter of the crisis, Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a "major incident" as the spread of Covid-19 threatens to "overwhelm" the capital's hospitals.
City Hall said today that London's Covid-19 cases have exceeded 1,000 per 100,000, while 35 percent more people are hospitalized with the virus than at the height of the pandemic in April.
A "major incident" means that the associated "severity of the consequences" "is likely to limit or impede the ability of emergency responders to allocate resources and manage the incident".
Mr Khan has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking for more financial support for Londoners who are self-isolating and unable to work, as well as daily vaccination dates.
He also calls for the closure of places of worship and the routine wearing of face masks outside the home, including in crowded places and in supermarket queues.
Mr Khan said: “The situation in London is critical now as the virus is spreading out of control. The number of cases in London has grown rapidly and more than a third more patients are being treated in our hospitals compared to the peak of the pandemic last April.
“Our heroic doctors, nurses and NHS staff are doing a great job, but with cases growing so rapidly, our hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed. The dire reality is we won't have any beds for patients for the next few weeks unless the spread of the virus slows down drastically.
“We are declaring a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is in crisis. If we don't take immediate action now, our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die.
“Londoners continue to make great sacrifices and today I beg them to please stay home unless you absolutely have to go. Stay home to protect yourself, your family, friends and other Londoners and to protect our NHS. & # 39;
Hospitals are now stretched to the point of rupture as senior NHS figures have warned they could be overwhelmed by the surge in patients. In London, hospitals will run out of beds in just two weeks.
There are now 50 percent more inpatients with coronavirus than during the peak in April, affecting every region in the UK. In Kent, a hospital warned that it may have to withdraw those treated by some.
Sir Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, said at a press conference yesterday on Downing Street: “We have seen an increase of 10,000 coronavirus patients in the hospital since Christmas.
“All of this, of course, happens at the traditionally busiest time of year for hospitals and the entire NHS. The pressures are real and they are growing. & # 39;
He spoke out when the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital in England reached a record 28,246 yesterday at 8 a.m. There were 3,697 approvals, including 913 in London, a record number for the fourth consecutive year.
Sir Simon said the number of admissions in London corresponds to a new St. Thomas Hospital that is full of Covid patients every day.
NHS England bosses warned that even at best, there would be no room for at least 1,500 critically ill patients in hospitals in the capital by January 19.
Ambulances parked near the ExCeL in East London today as preparations continue for the NHS to reopen
The ExCeL provides rehabilitation for those recovering from hospitalization who are not Covid-19 positive
NHS bosses want the ExCeL in east London to help free up more beds in other hospitals for coronavirus patients
The ExCeL reopens eight months after the East London center closed as a hospital on May 15 last year
The warning came from London's medical director, Vin Diwakar, who said the health service would be overcrowded even after more "surge capacity" was activated and Nightingale Hospital opened.
Half of all hospital patients in London currently have Covid-19, and there are 7,034 of them. During the first wave, the number peaked at 5,201 on April 9.
The official briefing from the Health Service Journal predicted growth in Covid patient numbers over the next two weeks.
In the best-case scenario, it will climb to 9,500 by January 19. In the worst case, it will be 12,406.
This is in addition to the 7,401 beds required by non-virus patients. Even if the available capacity is maximized and the nightingale is opened, up to 4,600 beds will be missing, according to the briefing.
A truck arriving at ExCeL in East London today as preparations continue for the 100 acre site to reopen
The flagship Nightingale pictured today at ExCeL was one of seven opened to great fanfare at the start of the crisis
There were concerns about the ability to properly man the site. Around 50,000 NHS workers are currently ill
The site closed after treating around 50 patients, although it was originally planned to have up to 4,000 beds when it opened
Hospital managers are desperately trying to create more space by remodeling other wards. However, there are insufficient staff and the shortage of nurses is particularly acute.
Typically, each ICU nurse takes care of one patient, but she has to take care of up to four. Doctors were asked to do nursing stories to ease the "immense" pressure.
Chris Hopson, Managing Director of NHS Providers, said, “We are already using some of the nightingales, including those in Exeter and Manchester.
& # 39; This has always been last minute insurance. If we want to fill them, we have to remove the staff from the existing hospitals. & # 39;
The pressure is having a catastrophic impact on non-covid care as cancer and heart surgery are canceled. The ambulance service also has problems with vehicles queuing in hospitals because there is no space in A&E.
Prince Charles speaks of Birkhall via video link as he officially opens the NHS Nightingale at ExCeL on April 3 last year
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also attended the opening of the NHS Nightingale Hospital at ExCeL on April 3, 2020
Engineers are working at the ExCeL building the NHS nightingale on March 31 last year, shortly after the first lockdown began
A drive-through vaccination center for Covid-19 in Hyde, Greater Manchester, today as the government pushes the Covid-19 vaccination program forward
A woman got a syringe this afternoon at a drive through Covid-19 vaccination center in Hyde, Greater Manchester
Professor Rupert Pearse, an intensive care advisor at Barts Health NHS Trust, said, “The situation is definitely worse than the first wave.
“We really try to ensure the quality of care we deserve for patients. The problem isn't unique to London. & # 39;
When asked by BBC Radio 4 if he thinks the health service could be overwhelmed within two weeks, he replied, "I never thought I could say something like that in my entire career, but yes I do. "
In Kent, Darent Valley Hospital near Dartford said it was on "Critcon Level 4" – meaning its resources were overwhelmed.
Critcon Level 4 requires stricter decisions about who should be treated, and some patients who are normally critically treated will not.
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