A hospital has declared a major incident over fears about a shortage in oxygen caused by the demand from Covid-19 patients on its wards.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), in Woolwich, asked London Ambulance Service to take emergency patients to other hospitals on Sunday amid concerns about the flow of oxygen to patients.
Some patients are being diverted to King’s College and St Thomas’s Hospitals in Camberwell and Waterloo respectively.
The procedure comes amid a surge in new coronavirus infections and hospital admissions in the capital.
The 500-bed QEH, part of the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, called in extra staff on Sunday – the incident was declared at around 1pm.
The hospital, which is still in a major incident as of Monday lunchtime, continued to accept children and cardiac arrest patients.
It called in extra staff on Sunday to cope with the situation – it is thought the numbers of coronavirus patients needed more oxygen than the pipes and infrastructure can deliver to the wards.
More oxygen is currently being used because instead of being ventilated, many patients are being given special masks which use more oxygen than a ventilator. Routine patients also have their own oxygen needs.
A Twitter statement from the trust said at 8pm today: “As you may have heard, we declared an internal incident at QEH as a precautionary measure. All patients continue to receive the care they need, including oxygen therapy as required. We continue to monitor the situation to ensure this remains the case.”
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.