Surgeons in Nottingham have been told to cancel some non-urgent operations after facing “rapidly escalating demands” due to coronavirus infections.
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said the city is facing a “serious situation” following a rise in cases in the region, which has forced them to postpone some non-urgent procedures.
In a message sent to staff on Friday, Nottingham University Hospitals Trust’s medical director and chief nurse said the action was needed “to create capacity for emergency patients”, according to The Independent.
The message also raised concerns about nosocomial spread within the hospital, in which patients test positive for Covid-19 following admission.
It follows a recent analysis by the University of Oxford, which found up to a quarter of patients in hospital with Covid-19 had caught the virus following admission.
Professor Carl Heneghan, who led the research, said: "Once you start to get into the data, it's not as simple as cases rising or hospitals admissions rising. This shows there is a significant problem with healthcare-acquired infections."
By postponing or cancelling some surgeries, it is hoped some operations could still go ahead at East Midlands hospital, while preventing potentially infectious patients entering the hospital.
It is understood patients isolating for three days prior to surgery will have their operations postponed, but those isolating for at least a week can still go ahead.
The new measures are expected to be reviewed after a week.
A spokesperson for Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said its hospitals continue to offer care for both Covid and non-Covid patients.
“We are facing a very serious situation here in Nottinghamshire. We have the highest levels of Covid-19 infection in the country, and as a result we have had to postpone some of our non-urgent activity,” the spokesperson said.
“We wish to make it clear that our care for those in need of urgent cancer operations, or of other clinically urgent procedures, remains.
“We ask our communities to please follow the government guidance closely – wash your hands, wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Playing your part to control further transmission in our city and county will help to save lives.”
It comes as University Hospitals Birmingham announced they would turn away hundreds of patients who present at A&E if they are deemed as non-essential, as the hospital seeks to protect critical services amid rising infections.
"If you are not in urgent need of help, you will be sent away,” UHB said in a statement.
The Nightingale Hospitals in Sunderland, Manchester and Harrogate were this week told to mobilise following an influx of Covid-19 admissions in the region.
But senior NHS leaders in the North West and North East have reportedly expressed concern at the suitability of the facilities for use in a second wave, according to the Health Service Journal (HSJ).
Questions were raised about the difficulties with heating and staffing the facilities, as well as concerns around toilets and ventilation.
Regarding the Manchester Nightingale, one senior North West clinician told the HSJ: “It may be suitable for patients stepping down from critical care but that isn’t where the pinch is, the pinch is critical care beds.
“The staffing also remains a question as with other Nightingales but with the added issue that there aren’t people to redeploy now while the facade of ‘business as usual as well as covid’ continues.”
The temporary hospital, located in an old train facility, allegedly takes two weeks to heat up to the appropriate temperature needed to treat patients, another source said.
On Saturday night it was reported that a vaccine could be introduced as soon as December.
According to the Sunday Times, Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, privately revealed that trials of the Oxford vaccine, which is manufactured by AstraZeneca, have shown it will cut infections and save lives.