The Speaker
Saturday, 18 May 2024 – 11:56

NHS hospitals told to free up 30,000 beds as surge in Coronavirus patients expected

NHS hospitals have been told to cancel operations in order to free up 30,000 beds for an expected surge in coronavirus patients.

A letter to NHS bosses on Tuesday advised hospitals to cancel all non-urgent surgeries for at least three months from 15 April at the latest. Hospitals have been told to do as much elective surgery such as hip operations and knee replacements as possible before then and to explore using private sector hospitals.

Cancer operations and emergency treatment will not be impacted.

In the letter, NHS England Chief Executive, Simon Steven said;

“The operational aim is to expand critical care capacity to the maximum; free up 30,000 (or more) of the English NHS’s 100,000 general and acute beds.

“Assume that you will need to postpone all non-urgent elective operations from 15 April at the latest, for a period of at least three months. However you also have full local discretion to wind down elective activity over the next 30 days as you see best, so as to free up staff for refresher training, beds for Covid-19 patients, and theatres/recovery facilities for adaptation work.”

Patients who do not need to be in hospital may also be discharged much quicker than usual.

The number of cases of COVID-19 in the UK has risen to 1,950, up 407 in 24 hours, however up to 55,000 could actually be infected according to the government.

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