NHS chief fears Northamptonshire hospitals 'not far off' having to cancel ops due to Covid-19

Warning follows record number of 236 positive tests in one day in the county

Thursday, 5th November 2020, 12:32 pm

Local NHS chiefs fear Northamptonshire is "not far off" being forced to start cutting back on services to make room for Covid-19 patients in hospitals.

Numbers of hospital admissions are doubling every two weeks and look set to continue rising sharply until mid-November despite the second national lockdown starting on Thursday.

Toby Sanders, chief executive of NHS Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group, warned: "From an NHS perspective, we know there is a lag of ten days or so between cases translating into hospital admissions.

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"That means we are still braced for numbers of acute admissions to carry on increasing at our two hospitals in Northampton and Kettering.

"Numbers remain relatively small across our overall bed base but we've not seen a level of hospital admissions that we are now since all the way back in early June.

"If we carry on seeing level of admissions increasing, the risk we run is of the NHS getting to a point where it can't provide some of the routine and elective surgeries that we want.

"We've not reached that point at the moment — and I would urge people to continue accessing NHS services wherever they need to because the NHS is still open and here to support people. But we're not far off where we might need to have that conversation locally."

Number of Covid-19 patients in Northants hospitals is rising sharply. Photo: Getty Images

Mr Sanders revealed Northampton General Hospital and Kettering General Hospital were treating 88 coronavirus patients as of Wednesday.

A further 19 have sadly died since early-October within 28 days of testing positive for the virus or had Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, according to NHS England data.

That figure is likely to rise sharply again following NHS England revealing Northamptonshire had its worst day yet for the number of new positive tests.

Figures published on Wednesday evening showed testing labs confirmed 236 positive swabs in the county in the latest 24-hour reporting period. The previous highest number in a single day was 187 last Friday (October 30).

NHS staff at Kettering and Northampton were treating 88 coronavirus patients by Wednesday

Mr Sanders told Thursday's meeting of the County Council Oversight and Engagement Board: "We've all listened nationally to the case for current lockdown measures being about protecting and avoiding the NHS becoming overwhelmed in terms of hospital capacity.

"These national measures are all about slowing rate of increase in community cases and I would urge people to do what they can to make this lockdown count.

"Regardless of personal feelings about how we got here, we now have this four-week period in front of us where we can do something to help bend the curve and get back into a better place."