Hospital which saved prime minister’s life is exposed by staff shortages and poor planning for second wave, says senior nurse

A senior intensive care nurse at the hospital which saved Boris Johnson’s life has warned there are not enough staff to cope with the second Covid wave.

Dave Carr, an intensive care charge nurse, at St Thomas’s Hospital, Waterloo, says the soaring numbers of infections are now making the situation there worse than the spring wave.

He told The Guardian: “The public needs to be aware of what’s happening. This is worse than the first wave; we have more patients than we had in the first wave and these patients are as sick as they were in the first wave.”

Better treatments are now available but patients are still dying, he said.

Carr, an intensive care specialist for 21 years, said patient treatment is lasting longer, leading to more pressure on hospitals, because treatment is working better.

He warned that St Thomas’ was now treating patients from other hospitals in the area that were near collapse.

Intensive care at St Thomas’s now has almost 100 beds, but struggles to find the nurses to staff them.

Hospitals should have slowed non-urgent operations and care in recent months to concentrate on training nurses, but instead NHS England and the Department of Health insisted on sustaining the number of non-urgent ops – and the vaccine will just add to the workload, following 10 years of NHS cuts.

There are many vacancies and existing staff are shattered – and many are having to cut corners. “For a lot of our nurses, it’s really upsetting for them not to be able to deliver the level of care that you’ve been trained to do,” Mr Carr said.

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