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Third of region’s ICUs exceed ‘maximum safe capacity’

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More than a third of critical care units in the East of England are either at or have exceeded their maximum surge capacity, information leaked to HSJ reveals, and all but one are above their normal capacity.

Data from the region’s critical care network shows that as of 11 January, seven of the region’s 19 critical care units were either at 100% of, or had exceeded, what is known as ”maximum safe surge” capacity. This represents the limit of safe care, mostly based on available staffing levels. The units have opened more beds, but they require dilution of normal staffing levels.

Across the East of England, 482 of the region’s current 491 intensive care beds, after the opening of surge capacity, were occupied. This included 390 patients in intensive care with confirmed covid-19, six with suspected covid and 86 non-covid patients.

It gives a regional occupancy rate of 91 per cent against total “safe surge” capacity.

Published government figures show the rapid increase in demand for intensive care in the East of England in the last two weeks — the number of patients with covid in mechanical ventilation beds is more than double what it was just after Christmas.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 11 January 2021

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