'Untenable situation' in UK hospitals as Covid cases surge, warns top surgeon

3 January 2021, 09:24

By Seán Hickey

The head of the Royal College of Surgeons pleaded with the nation to be wary of Covid-19 to avoid overcrowding hospitals.

"We all have a personal responsibility to ensure that if it's our turn there's a bed in hospital if we need it," said Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Andrew Castle noted that the coronavirus pandemic is "a tough time for people" and over the Christmas "they let their guard down."

He worried that the public "don't get the scale of the problem the NHS are facing."

Professor Mortensen gave a simple analogy: "Say you're involved in a car crash and you needed to go to a local hospital as an emergency and the hospital was completely full with Covid cases." He suggested that in such an instance, you would be turned away.

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The head of the Royal College of Surgeons claimed that the situation in UK hospitals is dire
The head of the Royal College of Surgeons claimed that the situation in UK hospitals is dire. Picture: PA

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He warned this becoming a reality in Britain, with some London hospitals at 120% capacity.

"That's a completely untenable situation."

Professor Mortensen summarised that "we want to stop everybody going to hospital with Covid so there's some room for all the other things," and abiding by the rules will go some way to ensuring that.

He said that even if the public obey the rules in the coming weeks and months, "it's a pretty pretty desperate picture" in UK hospitals.

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