An NHS Senior Intensive Care Registrar has said that her ‘heart is broken’ at the sight of severely ill patients overwhelming ICU wards around the capital.
It comes as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan today declared a ‘major incident’ due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus across the capital and the increase of Covid-19 cases in hospitals, which has left the NHS at risk of being overwhelmed.
Talking about what she is seeing, Dr Batt-Rawden said:
‘We tried. We really tried. NHS staff pleaded with people that Christmas is not worth it.
‘Now, 1 in 30 people in London have COVID and ICUs are overwhelmed. My heart is broken.
‘We will keep speaking up as NHS staff with hope on our hearts. We have to if we are going to find a way out of this.
‘Please follow and keep amplifying the voices of those working on the frontline.
‘Hope *in our hearts! The important thing is hope’.
The number of Covid-19 cases in London has exceeded 1,000 per 100,000, putting immense pressure on an already stretched NHS.
Between 30 December and 6 January, the number of patients in London hospitals grew by 27 per cent (from 5,524 to 7,034) and the number on mechanical ventilation grew by 42 per cent (from 640 to 908).
Over the last three days alone, the NHS has announced 477 deaths in London hospitals following a positive test for Covid-19.
The 7,034 people currently in hospital with Covid-19 represent a 35 per cent increase compared to the pandemic’s peak in April.
There are currently around 830 admissions to London hospital trusts per day – up from around 500 before Christmas – which could rise further over the next two weeks.
The impact is also being felt right across the emergency services with hundreds of firefighters from London Fire Brigade once again assisting London Ambulance Service by volunteering to drive ambulances as the ambulance services faces one of the busiest times in its history.
Since volunteering to help in April last year, firefighters have now responded to 100,000 incidents whilst driving ambulances.
The London Ambulance Service is now taking up to 8,000 emergency calls a day now, compared to 5,500 on a typical busy day.
A major incident is defined as being “beyond the scope of business-as-usual operations, and is likely to involve serious harm, damage, disruption or risk to human life or welfare, essential services, the environment or national security”.
In addition, “the severity of the consequences associated with a major incident are likely to constrain or complicate the ability of responders to resource and manage the incident.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control.
“The number of cases in London has increased rapidly with more than a third more patients being treated in our hospitals now compared to the peak of the pandemic last April.
“Our heroic doctors, nurses and NHS staff are doing an amazing job, but with cases rising so rapidly, our hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed. The stark reality is that we will run out of beds for patients in the next couple of 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 at crisis point. If we do not take immediate action now, our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die.
“Londoners continue to make huge sacrifices and I am today imploring them to please stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to leave. Stay at home to protect yourself, your family, friends and other Londoners and to protect our NHS.”
Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils, said:
“Cases are rising at a dangerous rate in London, putting extreme pressure on the NHS.
“One in 30 Londoners now has Covid. This is why public services across London are urging all Londoners to please stay at home except for absolutely essential shopping and exercise.
“We know how tough this is for Londoners. Councils are here to support anyone struggling to access food or medicine.
“Today, the thoughts of London leaders are with the thousands of Londoners in hospital battling Covid and the amazing carers fighting to save lives. We owe it to them to do all we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
“This is a dark and difficult time for our city but there is light at end of the tunnel with the vaccine rollout. We are asking Londoners to come together one last time to stop the spread – lives really do depend on it.”
Speaking on behalf of the Metropolitan Police, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said:
“The announcement that London has declared a major incident in the battle against Coronavirus is a stark reminder of the critical point we are at. Our health service colleagues are fighting this virus every day on the frontline, but the case rate continues to increase and the number of people affected in London is alarming. Now more than ever is the moment for people to stick to the rules, and stay at home
“There can be no doubt that right now we find ourselves at a serious and dangerous crossroads for London; everyone must look at this news and understand that our health service is nearing breaking point. I know Londoners will be shocked that officers are still dealing with a small selfish minority who think the rules don’t apply to them by holding house parties, large warehouse raves or other gatherings. These are creating breeding grounds for the much more transmissible variant.
“These rule breakers cannot continue to feign ignorance of the risk that this virus poses or listen to the false information and lies that some promote downplaying the dangers. Every time the virus spreads it increases the risk of someone needlessly losing their life.
“Earlier this week the Met issued refreshed instructions to officers to issue fines more quickly to anyone committing obvious, wilful and serious breaches. That is happening and it will continue to happen.
“Across the Met we continue to provide a resilient and strong policing service to Londoners. Officers are in communities, fighting crime, protecting the vulnerable and taking action against those selfish people who are putting lives are risk.
“That does not mean the Met is immune to the virus. As London’s biggest single employer, we have of course seen sickness and self-isolation. This is a real concern to us but thankfully owing to a drop in demand in some areas of policing and the fact that some of our staff can work from home, we have been able to flex our officers and remain resilient whilst also supporting the wider partnership effort to keep people safe.
“Finally, my message to the majority who are sticking to the rules is ‘thank you’. You are London’s unsung heroes and your actions are undoubtedly helping to save lives. To those who have broken the rules or are thinking of doing so, I urge you to see the bigger picture otherwise you face enforcement action – and risk losing family or friends and leaving an indelible impact on your community.”
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