United Kingdom (Al Jazeera) – Leaked projections forecast shortfall of nearly 2,000 hospital beds in the capital by January 19 under ‘best’ case scenario.
The United Kingdom is making preparations in case London is overwhelmed by COVID-19 infections, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday, amid reports hospitals in the capital could be inundated with patients within two weeks.
Projections leaked to leading medical publication the Health Service Journal (HSJ), published on Wednesday, showed that even if the number of COVID-19 patients increased at the lowest rate considered likely, London hospitals would be short of nearly 2,000 acute and intensive beds by January 19.
Asked about the estimates, Hancock said he was concerned about the pressures on the National Health Service (NHS) but claimed the government was putting extra resources into areas under the most significant strain.
Hancock told broadcasters a field hospital set up in east London’s ExCeL convention centre was on standby and ready to relieve pressure on the NHS if required.
“We’re putting in the extra resources to make sure that the NHS gets the support it needs in the parts of the country where it’s under the most significant pressure,” he said.
“For instance in London, (we are) making sure that the Nightingale hospital is on standby and there if needed. And if it is needed, of course, then it will be used.”