St George’s Hospital in south-west London has been forced to expand intensive care capacity and move staff without specialist training to high dependency roles to tackle the workload. The number of coronavirus patients is now comparable to the first peak at the Tooting hospital featured on the Channel Four series 24 hours in A&E.
Emergency department consultant Mark Haden said: “Everyone is working to the limit. It’s very stressful for staff and that is starting to show.”
St George’s has had to expand the number of intensive care beds for the critically sick from 60 to 120. Nurses who would usually be assigned to one patient are now dealing with up to four casualties at one time.
Matron Lindsey Izard said: “It’s not just about Covid. If you go up a ladder and fall off it, there’s a chance you won’t get an ICU bed.
“People are still getting run over, they’re still self-harming, they’re still beating each other up. I think a lot of people have thought, ‘This is the writing on the wall for me as a nurse, I’m not sure I want to do this again’.”