NHS nurses are to be sent to London from all over the UK as the capital is set to be struck by a ‘tsunami’ of coronavirus cases in the coming weeks.
The move comes as part of a package of measures in which the NHS will ask doctors to sleep on site for six weeks at the new Nightingale Hospital in the capital’s ExCel conference centre.
Nurses will be transferred from other parts of England to London as the number of Covid-19 patients is expected to rise within days, the Guardian reported.
Chris Hopson, NHS Providers’ chief executive, said London hospitals are struggling with an ‘explosion in demand’.
He said: ‘They are saying it’s the number arriving and the speed with which they are arriving and how ill they are. They talk about wave after wave after wave. The words that are used to me as that it’s a continuous tsunami.’
NHS nurses from around the UK will be moved to London to ease pressure on other staff and care for the ‘tsunami’ of patients being predicted in the coming weeks. Doctors will also sleep on site for six weeks at the new Nightingale Hospital in the capital’s ExCel conference centre (pictured)
Staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital join in a national applause for the NHS last night – but colleagues could be leaving their usual workplaces and heading to London
NHS plans will temporarily remove limits on the number of patients a nurse can treat in intensive care. One ICU nurse will now be able to look after six patients rather than one.
Army Reserve troops are mobilised in fight against coronavirus
The Army Reserve – Britain’s active volunteer force – is mobilising to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
At least 10,000 volunteer soldiers will start a range of national operations, including helping supply NHS hospitals, it is understood.
Volunteers for what used to be known as the Territorial Army were contacted on Sunday night.
Members were told to prepare to mobilise within 48 hours via text message or email.
The MoD placed the Reservists and an additional 10,000 full-time soldiers on standby last week.
They have now been deployed following the Prime Minister’s address on Monday.
The volunteers will deliver personal protective equipment around the country, which is essential to protecting doctors and nurses from the coronavirus.
Others have started training in driving oxygen tankers.
Army staff are also giving advice and support to public services and local authorities in their response to the coronavirus.
The Reserves have formed a major part of what is being dubbed the Covid Support Force.
It is thought there are around 35,000 Reservists around the country, many of whom have been mobilised.
They regularly assist the main army in a variety of major operations at home and abroad.
In response, doctors warned the temporary relaxation of the number of patients an ICU nurse can treat will lower care standards.
A lack of ventilators means planners will also explore if the live-saving equipment may be able to support two patients at once.
Regional chief nurses have been asked to spare their staff to battle the pandemic in London, which is expected to peak early next month.
This unprecedented plans come as an NHS official said the health service faced an ‘extreme surge’ of seriously ill COVID-19 sufferers. The number of deaths rose to 584 yesterday, an increase of 119 in 24 hours.
In an effort to ready the capital, officials also revealed there will be 7,500 critical care beds in London – 27 times more than there were before the Mr Hopson said the shortage of nursing staff has been exacerbated by workers being off sick with suspected coronavirus or isolating due to being in a vulnerable group. He added 30 to 50 per cent are not at work in some trusts.
To meet demand for the London Ambulance Service, the NHS plans to repurpose 20 to 25 vehicles usually used to ferry patients to non-urgent appointments. Such vehicles have few medical supplies on board. Those without their usual transport to appointments will be hired taxis.
Meanwhile, London’s private hospitals offered 111 critical care beds to the NHS, as well as 1,300 beds for patients leaving hospitals. They will also provide staff and supplies.
‘Field hospitals’ such as the newly-converted ExCel centre are also planned for Manchester and Birmingham, while the army builds a new ward for patients in the car park at Wigan hospital.
Britain’s coronavirus death toll rose by 115 yesterday in what was by far its biggest 24-hour surge.
This was the first time it had increased by more than 100 in a day and came after the previous figure had suggested the rate was starting to fall.
The virus has now claimed 578 lives in Britain and officials say lockdown measures of varying degrees might have to stay in place until the autumn.
Venues up and down the country – including the ExCel Centre in London, Manchester Arena, and Birmingham NEC, are set to become field hospitals
Yesterday’s death rate was nearly three times higher than the 41 recorded on Wednesday, but the Department of Health stressed that this was because the lower figure covered the eight-hour period left over from when officials changed the timeframe of the reporting system – which usually covers 24 hours.
Deaths had been counted from 9am to 9am each day and then published that afternoon. From now on they will be recorded from 5pm to 5pm and reported the following day, which officials say will give them more time to inform relatives and check accuracy.
Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, said those who were asymptomatic may still be able to pass the disease on for up to five days.
She told MPs on the Commons health select committee: ‘We think about 30 per cent of people may be in that category – they have harboured the virus. What we don’t know is whether they adequately or effectively can transmit.’
Asked if NHS staff could be passing the virus to patients, she replied: ‘Yes.’
In a further sign that the epidemic was only just beginning, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer said it was ‘not implausible’ that some lockdown measures would be in place for six months.
But Dr Jenny Harries added that some measures could be lifted – such as telling the public to stay at home – as the number of cases started to fall.
Yesterday’s figures also show there have been 11,658 confirmed infections in the UK, up from 9,529 the previous day. These numbers are just a fraction of the total as officials are only testing patients in hospital, despite calls from the World Health Organisation to expand this much more widely.
The head of the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens, said hospitals were facing their biggest challenge since the Second World War, adding: ‘I don’t think in the history of the NHS there’s been anything quite like it.’
Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, said lockdown measures could be worse than the virus itself for some, adding: ‘The poorest and most vulnerable in society are least able to cope with it.’
‘That was emotional’: NHS thanks the British public back after millions led by Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis applauded medics from gardens and streets in spine-tingling nationwide tribute
The NHS has thanked the British public after millions were led by Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte in showing appreciation for staff who are slaving away to try to stem the number of deaths from coronavirus.
The service’s official Twitter page posted ‘that was emotional’ with a blue heart following the incredible display of unity.
It came after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared a video on Instagram of their children laughing and clapping together in the garden.
The post on Kensington Palace’s account read: ‘To all the doctors, nurses, carers, GPs, pharmacists, volunteers and other NHS staff working tirelessly to help those affected by #COVID19: thank you.’
The Queen, who is staying at Windsor Castle, added the country is ‘enormously thankful’ for the commitment of all those working in science, health and the emergency and public services, while her son Prince Charles applauded from Scotland where he is self-isolating after testing positive for the virus.
Britons flocked to their doorways, balconies, gardens and windows to give a heartwarming round of applause and lit fireworks from 8pm as the country came together for the NHS.
The London Eye, the Wembley Arch, the Shard and Tower Bridge were among the landmarks lit vivid blue during the emotional salute.
The service’s official Twitter page posted ‘that was emotional’ with a blue heart following the incredible display of unity on Thursday night, with medics at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital taking the applause outside their building
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward and their children Lady Louise and James also joined in with the clapping
NHS staff respond as people in Blackpool join in a national applause for the NHS from their doorsteps
Staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital join in the country-wide clap for the NHS workers on Thursday evening
Left: Mel and Cody, Harriet and Lara clap for the NHS. Right: Leanne, Indie and ivy also took to their doorstep with homemade signs
A huge message of thank you is broadcast from the iconic Wembley Stadium in London as people flocked to their doorways to clap NHS staff
Barbara Leigh, 93, (second left) rings a bell for the NHS, with her family who are all staying together throughout the lockdown and are pictured in their front garden across the road from Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester
Seven-year-old Alice Wilkinson joins her mother Anna outside their house in Manchester during the Clap For Our Carers
Residents of the Tulse Hill Estate in south London come out on to their balconies to applaud NHS staff who are fighting the deadly virus
People applaud outside their flats in Wembley, north London, during the Clap For Our Carers campaign on Thursday evening
Residents in a Northampton street applaud in support of the NHS in a tear-jerking show of national unity in the face of a growing crisis
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak took a moment to step outside 10 Downing Street to lead the cheers
Princess Charotte, Prince Louis and Prince George are pictured joining in with clapping for NHS carers with the rest of the country
The Pollard family of Outline, near Huddersfield,West Yorkshire, give a minute’s applause for NHS workers on Thursday night
Nick and Karen Giddens and their dog Macy in Leicester join in a national applause for the NHS from their doorstep on Thursday night
People pause in the street in Wapping Wharf, Bristol, to join in the incredible national applause for the NHS on Thursday night
Londoners show appreciation for the NHS outside Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in the west of the capital on Thursday night
A police officer smiles and joins staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in a national applause for the NHS
The Clap For Carers campaign, which started online, has been staged because ‘during these unprecedented times they need to know we are grateful’, the organisers said.
It follows similar moves in Italy and Spain – which have the world’s highest death tolls – which created astonishing scenes earlier this month as they applauded from terraces in the countries’ cities.
Chief nursing officer of the NHS Ruth May said she appreciated the national salute planned to honour NHS workers.
Ms May said: ‘Nurses and midwives in our care staff are working around the clock. They are working so hard. And I have a very huge personal thank you to make to them.
She said she felt ‘very humble, very proud, and a clap for our carers will mean so much for all of our NHS staff and social care teams as well. Thank you. I appreciate it.’
People in a Northampton street applaud in support of the NHS and smile together during the incredible moment of national unity
People in Wapping Wharf, Bristol, come out on to their balconies to join in the and smile as they clap our heroic NHS staff
NHS staff respond as people in Blackpool join in a national applause for the NHS from their doorsteps, windows and balconies
People in flats wave the Scottish flag in Glasgow as they join in the national applause for the NHS from their balcony at 8pm
People applaud the NHS from their balconies and gardens across the road from Wythenshawe Hospital in south Manchester
One person holds a megaphone aloft as they cheering for the NHS. They also wave a flag during the incredible show of strength against the coronavirus
South Londoners are pictured here clapping for the country’s National Health Service as they only open their doors due to the nation-wide lockdown
People applaud outside St Thomas’s Hospital in London in support of British National Health Service workers who are treating coronavirus victims
Staff outside the St James’s University Hospital in Leeds wave to people applauding them from their balconies this evening
People in Woodford Green, London, descended on the streets to join in the national applause for the NHS as they stay away from other families to abide by social distancing
Shabir Kharas who was delivering food to venerable people still late into the night made time at 8pm to clap for the NHS
People in Northampton left their houses for a short while as they clapped the NHS. Britain is in lockdown and people have not been free to leave their homes under normal circumstances
Another view shows Tower Bridge in central London lit up NHS blue as the Shard stands tall behind it on Thursday night
The London Eye is pictured a stunning, vivid shade of blue as it was lit up in the capital to support the hardworking NHS staff
The Shard towards over central London with its tip flashing a bright blue across the capital as Britons flocked to celebrate the beloved NHS
This stunning photograph shows Olympic Way leading on to the iconic arch which turned the north London skyline blue this evening
The London Eye, the Wembley Arch, the Royal Albert Hall, the Principality Stadium, Lincoln Cathedral and Tyne Bridge (pictured) are among the landmarks that will be lit ‘NHS blue’ during the emotional salute
The iconic Selfridges building in central London is lit up in blue. The store has been closed to curb the potential of customers catching the coronavirus
The Clap For Carers campaign, which started online, has been staged because ‘during these unprecedented times they need to know we are grateful’, the organisers said. Pictured: The Town Hall in Liverpool on Thursday night
St George’s Hall and St John’s Beacon is lit up with ‘NHS blue’ lights in Liverpool as a sign of admiration for the National Health Service
A sign by Wembley Park Tube Station in London that thanks the hardworking NHS staff who are trying to battle the coronavirus
The SSE Hydro in Glasgow is lit up in ‘NHS blue’ in a gesture of thanks to the hardworking NHS staff who are trying to battle the lethal coronavirus during Thursday night’s heartwarming salute
Ashton Gate, the home of Bristol City FC is lit up in blue in a gesture of thanks to the hardworking NHS staff on Thursday night
Manchester Central Railway Station is lit up in blue tonight. Hardworking nurses and NHS staff have been going flat out to stem the number of deaths from the coronavirus
The tower restaurant at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon is lit up in blue in a gesture of thanks to the hardworking NHS staff
Fulwell Windmill in Sunderland paints a stunning picture as it is lit up above houses for the national celebration of our NHS staff
Britons flocked to their doorways, balconies, gardens and windows to give a heartwarming round of applause – which echoed across the nation from 8pm. Pictured: The Blackpool Tower shows solidarity tonight
A stunning shot from Wembley Stadium in north London shows a huge ‘Thank You NHS’ message plastered on the side of the iconic landmark