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NHS chiefs warn they will run out of intensive care capacity “this week”

A number of NHS trusts have warned they will run out of intensive care capacity this week, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) contacted the chief executives of NHS trusts, asking them questions about the capacity and resources of their hospitals in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Eight of the NHS trust chiefs said they expected to run out of intensive care capacity this week, with a further three predicting they’ll reach capacity next week.

One acute trust chief in the South East told the HSJ: “Modelling suggests we won’t have enough capacity of any sort, including ICU. Staffing during the peak will suffer through illness and we won’t have enough staff to meet the additional capacity even if we didn’t have sickness.”

The publication also asked NHS bosses to explain their biggest areas of concern, in relation to the outbreak.

The biggest areas of concern (given by 77% of respondents) are lack of staff testing and staff shortages, while 68% pointed to personal protective equipment shortages.

Last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced unprecedented measures to curb the spread of coronavirus – shutting down public spaces and banning gatherings of more than two people.

These efforts are designed to reduce the strain on the NHS – giving us more time to increase our intensive care capacity.

Let’s hope to God it works.

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