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England’s biggest hospital trust has 39% more Covid in-patients than April 2020

By Richard Vernalls, PA
There are now 39% more Covid-positive in-patients in England’s biggest hospital trust than there were being cared for by the organisation during its first treatment peak.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) said it was looking after 985 patients by Thursday morning, which is 277 more than its peak on April 10 2020.

The data, which is published by the trust, showed that number was a 7.4% rise on the figure of 917 patients, six days ago.

The organisation, which runs the largest intensive treatment unit (ITU) in the country at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, also has 13.4% more Covid-positive patients in critical care, than it did during its first ITU treatment peak.

There are now 152 ITU patients with coronavirus across the Trust’s three main hospital sites; the Queen Elizabeth and Heartlands Hospitals, both in Birmingham, and Good Hope in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.

That compares with 134 patients on April 17, last year.

The number of patients being treated in critical care has increased by 12.5% on the figure from last Friday, when 135 people were in intensive care with Covid-19.

Last week, the trust redeployed staff including 200 doctors from other departments to deal with the increasing numbers of Covid patients.

A consultant writing to staff in an internal memo said ITU capacity could be scaled up to 280 beds, with more than 200 alone at the QE, and in-patient space expanded to treat up to 1,000 people.

The email said: “We are at significant risk of becoming overwhelmed by Covid-19 patient(s) and specifically our ICUs are under immense pressure.”

Meanwhile, planned procedures were also being stood down at the QE, while elective surgery capacity and outpatient services at a fourth Trust hospital in Solihull were also being reduced as staff were redeployed.

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