Coronavirus: London NHS Trust 'admits to turning virus patients away'

20 March 2020, 08:44

Health experts have already warned of the huge pressure facing the NHS
Health experts have already warned of the huge pressure facing the NHS. Picture: PA

An NHS hospital trust in London has admitted to turning coronavirus patients away, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The report, from Thursday evening, quoted a clinical staff member as saying COVID-19 patients had been transferred to nearby hospitals amid increasing demand for treatment.

A&E departments had essentially turned into "Covid-19 waiting rooms", the staff member said, adding: "We're running out of beds and running out of space.

"Some patients with Covid-19 are being shipped to other trusts. Managers are off sick with stress."

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Another senior clinician was quoted as saying just one patient out of five eligible patients was admitted to intensive care earlier this week.

Three people have died at Lewisham and Greenwich after testing positive for the virus, while a total of 144 people nationwide have lost their lives since the outbreak began.

The report came just hours after the UK's chief medical officer Chris Whitty warned of the "greatest pressure" being placed on the intensive care system in London.

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Speaking at press conference in Downing Street, he said: "At the moment London from the coronavirus is under pressure but indirectly, but that's going to go up.

"The first thing that will get under the greatest pressure will be intensive care and respiratory care system, that's the first point of real pressure on the NHS that's going to be happen."

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Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said the claims were "not true".

He said: "We are not turning patients away and we have provided intensive care treatment – including ventilation – to all Covid-19 patients who have needed it, unless the patients themselves, or their families, have declined this course of treatment.

"Obviously, these are busy times across the NHS as a whole, and we would like to thank all our staff for all their hard work and commitment to patient care."

LBC News has also reached out to Public Health England for comment.