NHS England moving to highest alert level following rise in ICU patients

AFTER an increase in “desperately sick” COVID-19 patients in October, and more patients in intensive care than in April; NHS England will be brought back to its highest alert level at midnight tonight.

Chief of the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens said that the move to level four was in preparation for a “serious situation ahead” with more COVID-19 patients requiring care.

He said that there are “22 hospitals” worth of COVID-19 patients.

The NHS in England has four levels of response towards incidents. Level Four dictates that NHS England may take control of regional assets as a national response.

This means that NHS England’s response to the second wave of the pandemic will be at a national level instead of a regional level which was previously being done. Level Four was previously used at the beginning of the pandemic before being downgraded to level three in July.

This ensures that all NHS services have adequate support throughout the time it remains at Level Four.

As happens behind-the-scenes, the public shouldn’t see any difference when accessing the NHS.

The NHS is hoping to “minimise” the spread of the coronavirus from “spiralling out of control” so as not to disrupt other services.

Sir Stevens added: “The facts are clear, we are once again facing a serious situation. This is not a situation that anybody wanted to find themselves in, the worst pandemic in a century, but the fact is that the NHS is here.

“The public can help us help you so our fantastic staff – our nurses, our doctors, our paramedics – can get on with looking after you and your family there when you need it.”

He believes that UK should “hopefully” get one or more of the vaccines in the first part of next year.

“In anticipation of that, we’re also gearing the NHS up to be ready to make a start on administering COVID vaccines before Christmas, if they become available,” he said.

“We reached an agreement with GPs to ensure they will be doing that, and we’ll be writing to GP practices this week to get them geared up to start by Christmas if the vaccine becomes available.”

One aspect he is concerned about is that while the NHS has the capability of the Nightingale hospitals, the move to open those hospitals would have an adverse effect on the NHS’s capability to handle non-COVID-19 patients as resources would have been redirected to the Nightingale facilities.
The North East of England has an R rate of 1.1-1.3 and a growth rate of +2 to +5% at press time.

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