NHS England will move to highest level of emergency alert from midnight tonight
The NHS will move to its highest level of emergency alert from midnight tonight in England.
Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, announced it would move to “level 4” alert as hospitals see an increase in “desperately” sick patients.
The alert level will move from level 3 – which means coronavirus is in general circulation – to level 4, which means that transmission is high or rising exponentially.
Mr Stevens added: “The facts are clear, we are once again facing a serious situation.
“This is not a situation that anybody wanted to find themselves in, the worst pandemic in a century, but the fact is that the NHS is here.
“The public can help us help you so our fantastic staff – our nurses, our doctors, our paramedics – can get on with looking after you and your family there when you need it.”
On vaccines, Sir Stevens told an NHS press conference: “Our expectation is that it will be the start of next year when the bulk of vaccine becomes available assuming that the Phase 3 trials produce positive results.
“We are obviously planning on the off chance that there is some vaccine available before Christmas.”
Some vaccines need to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius he said, adding: “So it’s going to be a combination of what GPs are able to do, what community pharmacists are able to do, but also mass vaccination centres which is one of the purposes we will be using the Nightingale Hospitals for, and other locations as well.
“There will be roving teams who will prioritise care homes and social care staff and other vulnerable groups.
“But the bulk of this is going to be the other side of Christmas but we want to be ready.”
In the press conference from University College Hospital, Mr Stevens said the health service has prepared “very carefully” for the “next phase of coronavirus”.
He said that, for some patients, mortality in hospital and intensive care has “halved since Covid was first known to humanity”.
But he added: “However well-prepared hospitals, the NHS, GP surgeries are, it is going to be a difficult period.”
He said: “We want to try and ensure that the health service is there for everybody, minimising the disruption to the full range of care that we provide, not just Covid but cancer services, routine operations and mental health services.
“And the truth, unfortunately, is that, if coronavirus takes off again, that will disrupt services.
“We are seeing that in parts of the country where hospitals are dealing with more coronavirus patients now than they were in April.”
He added: “The best way we enable the health service to look after all the people who need our care … this, by the way, is what is meant by that slogan ‘Protect the NHS’, what it means, I think, is help us help you by ensuring (we) are able to offer that wider range of care.”
He said that “other lines of defence such as actions individuals are taking to reduce the spread of the virus and the Test and Trace programme” are needed, adding: “The reality is that there is no health service in the world that by itself can cope with coronavirus on the rampage.
“That’s why it is so important that we reduce infections across the country.”
Courtesy of mirror.co.uk