One Essex hospital trust didn’t have a single critical care bed free last week as NHS services are increasingly pushed to the limit.
The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust – the trust which oversees hospitals in Colchester, Essex and Ipswich, Suffolk – recorded that all of the trust’s critical care beds were filled with patients for most of last week.
For the four days between Monday (January 18) and Thursday (January 21), no beds were free.
On Friday, one bed was made available, out of the 45 under the care of the trust.
That increased to two available beds on Saturday, but by Sunday, all available beds were fully occupied again.
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That’s in spite of the trust increasing their critical care capacity to 50 beds.
This is the most recent data made available by the NHS, and shows a stark and worrying lack of capacity for the county’s NHS services.
Over the same week-long period, the trust recorded 17 coronavirus-related deaths.
It comes as Tendring – an area covered by the care of the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation NHS Trust – remains the most infected area in the county.
For more than a week, more infections have been recorded per 100,000 residents in Tendring than in any other area of Essex.
This has a delayed effect on hospital admissions, and indicates that hard times may still be ahead for the trust.
Although other trusts in Essex recorded more unoccupied beds across the same week, their numbers are still increasingly worrying.
No Essex trusts recorded any figures that were less than 75 per cent of their maximum capacity.
It shows that although infection rates continue to decrease in Essex, our hospitals still remain incredibly under threat.