Southend Hospital oxygen supply in 'critical situation' amid influx of Covid-19 patients

11 January 2021, 12:11 | Updated: 11 January 2021, 12:26

Paramedics outside Southend Hospital in Essex
Paramedics outside Southend Hospital in Essex. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Southend Hospital's oxygen supply has reached a "critical situation" as the number of Covid-19 patients dramatically increases.

Staff at the NHS hospital have been told the amount of oxygen used to treat patients should be reduced.

It comes as healthcare leaders warned supplies had run low in other areas.

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Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust reportedly said in a letter: "We have reached a critical situation with oxygen supply.

"It is imperative we use oxygen safely and efficiently.

"All patients should have a target saturation of 88-92 per cent. Patients with a saturation above 92 per cent which are on oxygen should have their oxygen weaned within the target range.

"I can assure all that maintaining saturations within this target range is safe and no patient will come to harm as a result.

"It is imperative that this is acted on immediately."

Yvonne Blucher, managing director of Southend Hospital, said: "We are experiencing high demand for oxygen because of rising numbers of inpatients with Covid-19 and we are working to manage this.

"The public can play their part by staying home and, where they cannot, following the 'hands, face, space' advice to cut the spread of the virus."

Dean Burns, an emergency and critical care medicine consultant, said on Twitter: "I know it's logistically very difficult indeed, but the failure of most acute Trusts to upgrade ancient oxygen piping wholly unsuited to modern O2 delivery devices, will cost lives. Surprised there wasn't a hyper-focus on this issue over the summer months."

Essex has some of the highest Covid-19 case rates in the country.

In the seven days to January 4, Southend had a rate of 1,234.7 new cases per 100,000 people, with 2,261 new cases recorded.

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