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NHS England: Hospitals must ‘surge’ ICU so other regions don’t have to ration care

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NHS England has asked hospitals across the country to open hundreds more intensive care beds so they can take in patients from the hardest hit areas, to prevent those patches having to ration access.

A letter sent to dozens of acute trusts today by NHS England asks them to enact their “maximum surge” for critical care from tomorrow, opening up hundreds of beds, which will rely on them redeploying staff and cancelling more planned care.

The letter is to trusts in the Midlands but HSJ understands a similar approach is being taken in the other regions where critical care is not currently under as much pressure as London, the East of England and the South East.

The message to surge capacity to support a “national critical care service” was reinforced to trusts nationwide in a call with Keith Willett, NHS England covid incident director, also on Wednesday.

The letter, from the NHSE Midlands regional team, said there had been a national request for the region to surge beyond its own needs to support London and the East of England. “Significant” numbers are likely to be transferred, HSJ was told.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 13 January 2021

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