Whittington Hospital: We won’t be out of coronavirus beds “by the weekend”

The Whittington Hospital in North London. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The Whittington Hospital in North London. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Whittington Hospital insists it has enough beds for coronavirus patients after one of its consultants claimed it could run out “by the weekend”.

The Whittington says it has “extension plans” to meet the rapid rise in cases after its intensive care specialist Professor Hugh Montgomery claimed the hospital could be without beds if current rates of contraction continued.

He told Channel 4 News: “At the moment [with] the doubling rate, we would be likely, like many other trusts in London, to be out of beds by the weekend.”

He added: “We’ve done our best - these are extraordinary times and we are certainly coping at the moment with the patients that we have.

“But I have no doubt at all that we will be unable to cope and that’s not because people haven’t tried or the government hasn’t tried, it’s just the mathematics of the speed of the rise.”

There are currently 72 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Haringey and 66 in Islington, with many more undiagnosed.

The Whittington said it was coping with the current pressure on its services, and would continue to meet the growing number of Covid-19 patients, but only if people followed advice on self-isolation, social distancing and hand hygiene.

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A spokesperson for Whittington Health NHS Trust said: “While we – along with other hospitals – are seeing more COVID-19 patients in intensive care, we still have capacity now, with plans for further expansion as needed.

“We are working with other local and regional healthcare organisations to manage increase in demand and will continue to do everything to care for our patients and keep our staff safe.”

A recent study from the University of Cambridge said the number of patients requiring critical care would outstrip the number of available beds in five of the seven NHS commissioning regions.

But the Department of Health and Social Care said the government had secured an additional 8,000 hospital beds to meet the growing demand.

A spokesperson said: “The Government is working around the clock to ensure hospitals up and down the country are equipped to combat the threat of coronavirus.”