Coronavirus: Northwick Park Hospital stands down 'critical incident' status

20 March 2020, 16:02 | Updated: 20 March 2020, 20:40

Northwick Park Hospital had previously declared a critical incident
Northwick Park Hospital had previously declared a critical incident. Picture: PA
Ewan Somerville

By Ewan Somerville

Northwick Park Hospital has stood down its "critical incident" status after its capacity reached breaking point following a surge of coronavirus patients.

The Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow said its critical care capacity was full on Friday and was seeking to transfer seriously ill patients to other London hospitals, following the Covid-19 outbreak

One senior medical director at another London hospital said it was "f*****g petrifying". 

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A message to staff at the hospital on Thursday night, seen by the Health Service Journal (HSJ), says: “I am writing to let you know that we have this evening declared a ‘critical incident’ in relation to our critical care capacity at Northwick Park Hospital. This is due to an increasing number of patients with Covid-19.

“This means that we currently do not have enough space for patients requiring critical care."

However, a spokesperson for London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust said: "We can confirm that our Critical Incident status has been stood down."

They added: "Critical care capacity for patients with coronavirus is being organised on a cross-London basis so that hospitals and organisations work together to deliver the best possible care for patients and that is what has happened in this case.

“This kind of coordinated, flexible response is one of the NHS’s strengths but with staff pulling out all the stops they need the public to play their part too, by following the expert guidance on washing your hands, staying at home and using health services responsibly.”

Six people have reportedly died of coronavirus at Northwick Park Hospital, which is run by the London North West University Healthcare Trust.

It comes amid growing concern at the lack of intensive care beds in Britain. 

One senior director at another major London healthcare trust told HSJ: “Given we’re in the low foothills of this virus, this is f***ing petrifying."

A spokeswoman for LNWHT told HSJ: “Critical care capacity for patients with coronavirus is being organised on a cross-London basis so that hospitals and organisations work together to deliver the best possible care for patients.

“This kind of coordinated, flexible response is one of the NHS’s strengths but with staff pulling out all the stops they need the public to play their part too, by following the expert guidance on washing your hands, staying at home and using health services responsibly.”

Queen Elizabeth Hospital and University Hospital Lewisham, both run by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust in south-east London, are also reportedly turning away coronavirus patients because intensive care beds are full.

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