Whittington patients increase as Covid 'major incident' declared in London

The Whittington Hospital

The Whittington Hospital. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has declared a major incident across the city with coronavirus cases spiralling — and in Islington the Whittington Hospital says it is rapidly working to increase capacity where it can. 

City Hall said Covid-19 cases in London have exceeded 1,000 per 100,000 people and that there are 35 per cent more people in hospital with the virus than in the previous peak of the pandemic last April.

A “major incident” means the “severity of the consequences” associated with it are “likely to constrain or complicate the ability of responders to resource and manage the incident”.

Sadiq Khan has written to the prime minister asking for more financial support for self-isolating Londoners, and for places of worship to be closed.

Mr Khan said: “The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control.

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“Our heroic doctors, nurses and NHS staff are doing an amazing job, but with cases rising so rapidly, our hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed."

The latest NHS England figures show that on January 3, the Whittington had 11 adult critical care beds — intensive care or high-dependency beds — available and all were in use. 

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It is understood that since then surge protocols have kicked in and the hospital has repurposed theatre space and freed up general purpose wards to increase it's capacity to safely care for Covid patients. 

Government data from January 5, the last date available, shows the Whittington Trust had 179 Covid patients in hospital. 

On January 6, the data suggests there were more than 7,000 Covid patients in hospitals across London.

A Whittington Health spokesperson said: "Like the whole NHS, Whittington Health is currently experiencing pressure as a result of a rapid increase in Covid positive patients.

"However, the safety of our patients remains our top priority and our staff are working tirelessly to ensure that we can continue to provide safe, effective and compassionate care to those who require it."

READ MORE: Covid-19 surge sees Whittington stop adult elective services

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