The number of new Covid-19 cases may finally be peaking in London, but the strain placed on local NHS services by the pandemic is
Boris Johnson warned before Christmas that the NHS risked being overwhelmed, and with infection rates at record highs in the capital, many are worried about how hospitals are coping, especially in London where the virus is most prevalent.
The number of hospital inpatients with the virus is growing, and the UK’s death count is now in excess of 100,000.
So how is Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, and the other local NHS trusts, coping in January.
Winter is typically an incredibly busy time for the NHS, with the peak of the flu season seeing capacity near full.
But this year, hospitals face the added pressure of Covid-19 patients, as well as the extra effort of preventing the virus from spreading between patients and making a bad situation worse.
This means less space for patients and therefore reduced capacity., as wards have been divided into those who have tested negative and those who have tested positive, as well as those awaiting results.
In total, NHS hospitals in England have about 7,000 fewer available beds than usual, but has this made a significant impact on how hospitals are coping locally?
So we’ve looked at stats indicating the current level of patients inside local trusts, and how they are coping compared with the first wave.
Firstly, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, which runs Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich and Lewisham Hospital, as well as a number of other, smaller health services in south east London.
According to Government data, as of Tuesday, January 12, the trust currently has 468 Covid-19 patients in hospital.
This is actually significantly higher than in April last year, when the number of Covid-19 patients reached 299.
Last Sunday, the last day with data available, 57 people with the virus were admitted to the hospitals, which brings the cumulative total to 2,580 Covid-19 patients, as of January 12.
Back in 2020, the number of admissions largely stayed bellow 40 a day, where as in recent days these figures have regularly exceeded 70.
Additionally, 39 people are currently using mechanical ventilation beds whilst suffering from Covid-19 in the trust’s care.
This is slightly lower than in April 2020, when the number of Covid patients on ventilators peaked at 47. The January peak, however, does match the size of that in April last year.
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust which runs Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley and serves Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Bromley, was very hard hit in the first lockdown, but as of this week is beginning to see the same level of numbers repeat.
The trust currently has 755 patients with Covid-19 in hospital. 86 were admitted last Sunday, bringing its total to a whopping 4,658.
The data shows that there are currently 116 patients on ventilators. This number was around 90 for over a month in early 2020, so whilst more patients suffered in the first wave (so far), the current peak in ventilator patients is the highest the trust has ever seen.
The same is true of current patient nubmers, peaking at 561 in April and now peaking at 689.
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust has been far less hit by Covid-19, with the majority of patients being directed to its neighbour.
There are currently 45 patients in hospital with Covid-19, and 0 on ventilators.
Seven more people were admitted on Sunday, bringing its Covid total to 147.
Whilst low, this does match the level of admissions seen in April 2020, and the current number inside Oxleas hospitals are around 30% higher than in April.
Deaths can only be seen by region, not by NHS trust, and are as follows.
Greenwich has recorded 6 daily deaths that occurred within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, as reported on Sunday January 17.
This is high considering the weekly number is 11, and the total number is 275.
Bromley has recorded a staggering 426 total Covid-19 deaths, with 6 on Sunday and 13 this week.
In Lewisham, 355 patients have died with 28 days of a positive Covid test, 4 today and 15 this week.
And Bexley has seen 390 virus deaths, with 18 this week and 6 today.