A DOCTOR says members of the public flouting coronavirus rules have "blood on their hands" as the crisis in British hospital deepens.
Professor Hugh Montgomery said he was "angry" with Brits not wearing masks, as medics were forced to reduce oxygen supplies for hospitalised patients amid fears of shortages.
The NHS has come under severe pressure as a highly contagious new strain of Covid tears through London and the South East, as health experts begged the public to stay at home.
Professor Hugh Montgomery, who works in the intensive care unit at Whittington Hospital, north London, today spoke of his fury at those flouting coronavirus rules amid the growing crisis.
He told Radio 5 Live: ""Anyone who is listening to this, who doesn't wear their masks and behaves like this… They have blood on their hands, they are spreading this virus, then other people will spread it and people will die.
"They won't know they've killed people, but they have."
The doctor, who is also professor of intensive care medicine at University College London, added: "I'm watching whole families getting wiped out here. It has to stop."
They have blood on their hands, they are spreading this virus, then other people will spread it and people will die
According to The Times, a note circulated among senior staff following a meeting of the North East and Central London Adult Critical Care Network warned that demand was outstripping resources in many hospitals.
The network, which covers 17 hospitals in London and Essex, reportedly said it was “beyond full” and “needs help” to cope with a shortage of nurses and rapidly depleting oxygen supplies.
The note added that the network was dangerously close to full capacity with 235 patients in 236 beds, 160 of whom were battling Covid-19 – with further patients expected.
Oxygen use at Queen’s Hospital in Romford was also reported to be so high that doctors were forced to approve reduced targets for patients – though medics insisted this was a safe move.
According to the note, staffing numbers at the Trust were also said to be “dire” with 28 critical care nurses and seven nurses with less training currently caring for 68 patients.
The Royal College of Nursing says that the ‘gold standard’ ratio is one registered nurse per patient.
There are also fears that the spread of the new strain beyond the South East has seen Trusts in other regions put under serious pressure, with Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital reported to be “close to breaking point”.
ITV’s Good Morning Britain today said the hospital, which has the biggest ICU in the country, was struggling to cope with a surge in admissions – with some patients forced to wait in ambulances for three hours.
Residents living nearby told the programme the noise of sirens was “relentless”, and the Trust is reported to be taking patients from London and other regions.
Dr David Rosser, chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, told BirminghamLive the situation was "as close to critical as I have ever seen the NHS in 25 years".
It comes as the latest NHS figures show 23,771 Brits are currently being treated for the bug in hospital, surpassing the first wave peak of 21,682 on April 12.
Gareth Grier, the Director of the Institute of Pre-Hospital Care, warned that the “impact of the surge on emergency departments this time is very different” from the Spring due to “bigger numbers”.
Urging hospitals to ensure adequate space for patients, he tweeted: “If covid patients are left in corridors then covid will spread like wildfire within the hospital.”
Mr Grier added that, as a result, medics had been forced to ‘cross a red line’ and treat patients outside in ambulances and tents.
The surge in infections comes as three quarters of England was plunged into harsh Tier 4 restrictions last night to prevent the spread of the new variant getting out of control.
The British Medical Association (BMA) today welcomed the government’s decision, warning that the NHS will "struggle to get patients in urgent need of care, the care they need" if the trajectory of rising infections continues.
Council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: "With daily cases soaring to over 50,000 this week, placing the NHS under enormous strain, the decision to move millions more people into tougher restrictions across the country is a necessary step.”
He added: "As we hear more reports of hospitals declaring major incidents, ICU beds reaching 100% capacity in parts of the country, and patients having to be transferred to other hospitals for care, it is vital that everything possible is done to bring down the spread of the virus."
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