Hospital in Birmingham are at “tipping point” with claims one has already started to turn patients away.
University Hospitals Birmingham is ‘stretched to its limits’ as rising coronavirus cases continue to engulf the NHS.
It is said the city is “closing the front door” of its three main hospitals to non-emergency patients for the first time.
The Independent suggest anyone who has not been involved in an accident – or does not have a genuine emergency – will now be turned away.
Patients will instead “be told to see their GP, call NHS 111 or care for themselves”, the publication reports.
Mirror Online have approached NHS England for clarification.
Hospitals are said to be drawing up an emergency action plan as the impact of rising coronavirus cases threatens other services.
As yet, there has been no move to reopen the Birmingham Nightingale at the NEC.
The latest threat comes after hospitals in Liverpool and Nottingham said they would have to cancel some operations with Covid-19 cases soaring.
University Hospitals Birmingham operations director Jonathan Brotherton sent a clear warning with beds again filling up.
“We are at a tipping point – the next few weeks are going to be very challenging,” he told Birmingham Live.
“It is obvious what we need to do – as the rate keeps going up it seems inevitable we are going to have to lock down far more than we currently are.
“Some people seem to think ‘I will be okay, it won’t be that much of a problem for me because I’m fit and healthy and won’t get too ill.’
“What they don’t realise is the onward transmission and rising R rate means other people get sick and the hospitals are already under so much pressure.
“It is putting our staff into a terrible position of working back in full PPE and dealing again with people dying without their relatives around – but it also affects all the patients who don’t have covid but need urgent attention.
“We can’t deal with all of that at once.
“People are not making the link that if there are more coronavirus cases, someone is not going to get their operation – but that is what is going to happen.”
One doctor at the University Hospitals Birmingham Trust told The Independent: “We have been shipping Covid patients out of UHB to other hospitals left right and centre this week to keep our heads above water.
“We aren’t inundated, we are just at our limits.
“It’s difficult. The staff here are brilliant clinicians and they are doing a great job but it’s just sensible for the public to know what it’s like.
“The trust has to be honest with the world.”