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Hospitals cancel operations as Covid cases surge

Hospitals are cancelling non-urgent operations as the number of coronavirus outbreaks in the healthcare sector doubles in two weeks – with one heart surgeon calling it a ‘nightmare’.

Several hospitals are expecting a surge in Covid patients, leading to the cancellation of operations which have already been delayed for six months.

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, for example, said it was temporarily pausing non-critical planned surgery at Derriford Hospital, although day case procedures are still going ahead.

And Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Steve Warburton told staff in a memo that it had reached a ‘critical point’ and would be scaling back planned procedures.

It comes as daily coronavirus deaths could reach up to 690 this month, scientists have warned as ONS data recorded a 50 per cent weekly rise in infections.

The Medical Research Council biostatistics unit at Cambridge University presented Sage with the bleak forecast as they published new predictions on how fast the virus is spreading.

They estimate that 47,000 people in England are contracting Covid-19 every day, with cases doubling in under seven days.

Hospitals are cancelling non-urgent operations as the number of coronavirus outbreaks in the healthcare sector doubles in two weeks. University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (file image), for example, said it was temporarily pausing non-critical planned surgery at Derriford Hospital, although day case procedures are still going ahead

The Prime Minister has been told that hospitals could expect daily Covid admissions to top 1,000 within days – with the virus spreading to other patientsreported. 

‘Honestly, it’s a nightmare telling these patients they are going to have to wait again,’ a heart surgeon who works in the northwest of England told The Times

A critical care nurse in Lancashire added: ‘We’re absolutely packed… I don’t even want to think about where we’ll be in two weeks’ time.’ 

It comes as Britain recorded its highest number of coronavirus deaths for more than four months on Saturday after another 150 victims were announced.

Department of Health statistics show this many deaths haven’t been registered since June 10, when 164 lab-confirmed fatalities were added to the toll.

Health chiefs also posted another 16,171 cases yesterday, up only six per cent on the figure recorded last week in a potential sign that the UK’s coronavirus outbreak may be slowing down.

Meanwhile, public health officials in Leeds said hospitals in the city were now ‘very close’ to having to cut back on non-Covid services.

The huge demand in services was forcing clinicians to consider ‘how to save the most lives, directly or indirectly from Covid’ one said.

Just days ago, the Royal College of Surgeons of England warned there could be a ‘tsunami’ of cancelled operations this winter as the NHS struggles to cope with a second wave of coronavirus.

The cancellations will add to the growing backlog – with more than 4.2million people on the waiting list and 110,000 of these having waited for over a year.

However, tens of thousands of NHS staff are absent from work because they are infected with Covid or they have to self-isolate. 

NHS England’s medical director recently warned hospitals in the North West and North East could end up treating more patients than they did during the peak of the first wave of Covid-19.

Professor Stephen Powis said the NHS remained open for all patients but keeping coronavirus infections under control is the key to other patients getting the treatment they need.   

Doctors ask grieving families to confirm their relative’s deaths via ZOOM so doctors don’t have to make house calls during pandemic

A doctor has asked a grieving family if they could confirm the death over video link amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gillian Orman, from Southampton, rang the NHS after her mother Kathleen Bricknell, 86, died.

A doctor said everyone in the house – including her deceased mother – would have to wear a mask during an in-person visit to confirm the death.

The doctor originally asked if she could confirm the death over video link, but Mrs Orman said she refused the ‘undignified’ offer.

‘The receptionist said a doctor would come out to confirm my mother’s death,’ said Mrs Orman.

Gillian Orman, from Southampton, rang the NHS after her mother Kathleen Bricknell (pictured), 86, died

‘The doctor rang and said she wanted to confirm her death via video link. I couldn’t believe it – what she was suggesting was so undignified.

‘I refused, saying I wanted the doctor to come out to the house. She said she would only come if everyone in the property was wearing a face mask, including my late mother.

‘I know we’re in the middle of a Covid epidemic but you expect support when something like this happens.’

Her mother was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung complaint characterised by long-term breathing problems, and her death came three months after the death of Mrs Orman’s daughter Katherine, 34.

Dr Dan Baylis, chief medical officer at Solent NHS Trust, said: ‘During the current pandemic, GP surgeries across the country are asked to consider offering remote consultations to patients and families, including to verify whether someone has passed away. This is to protect both staff and patients.

‘We understand that many families would prefer to be seen face-to-face and we will always accommodate this. Our family liaison officer will be contacting the family to discuss their concerns so they can receive the right support.

‘We will use their feedback so we can actively improve our services and the level of care we offer to all patients and their families.’

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients’ Association, said ‘We’d expect the NHS to carry out such sensitive processes as certifying a death in person, in a way that respects the dignity of the person who has died.’

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Source: | NHS

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