Two hospitals almost run out of critical care beds as Covid patients double

The number of Covid patients in Norfolk's three largest hospitals has fallen for the first time since September

The total number of hospital patients who have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Norfolk has now passed 1,000. - Credit: Brittany Woodman/Sonya Duncan

Two Norfolk hospitals almost ran out of critical care beds on Sunday as medics battled to treat twice the number of seriously-ill coronavirus patients. 

At the James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) just two of its 18 critical care beds were free on January 10, according to the latest NHS figures.

Meanwhile, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn, 11 of its 15 beds were in use. 

The hospitals said that medics reviewed the demand for beds daily to make sure that the patients in the most need are prioritised. They added that all three hospitals in Norfolk support each other as needed, meaning patients will be taken elsewhere if they get full.

A JPUH spokesman also confirmed plans were in place to add more critical capacity beds if needed.


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The Norfolk and Norwich University (NNUH) has quadrupled its intensive care bed numbers during the pandemic, to 87, around half of which are occupied.

The number of coronavirus patients in Norfolk hospitals went up another 20pc this week, with the amount of people in intensive care beds almost doubling from 25 to 47.

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The latest NHS data up to January 12 shows 621 Covid patients were in hospital beds in the NNUH, QEH and JPUH. It has risen by 113 since last week.

Coronavirus patients now make up more than a third of all people in the three hospitals.

The figures show 282 coronavirus patients were in beds at the NNUH. The hospital, which has drafted in the military to help, is reporting 91pc of all beds are occupied.

At the JPUH, the number of Covid patients has swelled to 146 from 92 last week, meaning 93pc of all beds are occupied.

Meanwhile, numbers at the Queen Elizabeth have grown from 172 to 189, leaving 95pc of the hospital's beds full.

At West Suffolk Hospital, there were 183 virus patients in beds on January 10, compared to 159 the week before. There, 84pc of beds are occupied, and 36pc are taken up by virus patients.

Meanwhile the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – the region’s mental health trust – has reported 34 Covid patients in beds, up from almost triple the 13 reported last week.

And the Norfolk and Suffolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust has seen the numbers of Covid patients grow from 57 to 84.

It means more than 700 patients are now in Norfolk hospitals with coronavirus. 

Our maps below shows the pressure the virus is putting on hospitals across the region, with experts predicting it will still be a few weeks before numbers ease.

Nationally, 81,481 hospital beds are occupied, with 32,202 taken up by virus sufferers. In all, 3,175 people are being treated in intensive care across the country. 

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