Covid-19 patient numbers needing 'very intensive support' increase at Queen Alexandra Hospital as Portsmouth health bosses urge residents to follow tier three rules

HEALTH chiefs have made a plea to residents to follow new tier three rules after the number of Covid-19 patients needing ‘very intensive’ support in hospital increases.

By Millie Salkeld
Thursday, 17th December 2020, 1:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th December 2020, 1:49 pm

Dr John Knighton, medical director at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, has told The News that Queen Alexandra Hospital has been under ‘increasing pressure’ in the last few weeks as the numbers of Covid-19 patients increases.

Staff were caring for 149 Covid-19 patients as of Tuesday last week.

Data shows that the number of beds at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust occupied by people who tested positive for Covid-19 has increased by 50.51 per cent in the last four weeks – 28 days ago, there were 99.

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Dr Knighton, who is also a critical care consultant, said: ‘Over the last few weeks, Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, has been treating an increasing number of patients with Covid-19, a number of whom are needing very intensive support.

‘Staff across our hospitals are working tirelessly including taking part in additional shifts and longer hours to ensure we continue to provide safe consistent care. As a trust we are finding ourselves under increasing pressure and while our communities have been fantastic in supporting us, we need you to keep going.’

In the seven days to December 12, Portsmouth had 457 new cases recorded – the equivalent of 212.7 cases per 100,000 people.

This was up from 140.5 in the seven days to December 5.

An ambulance crew wearing protective clothing transfer a patient, whose condition was described as not being related to Covid-19, from their ambulance to the Queen Alexandra hospital. Photo by Leon Neal - Pool/Getty Images)

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Dr Knighton added: ‘The rate of transmission across Portsmouth has been increasing higher than we would have liked, so please play your part in keeping the NHS available for those who need it most.

‘The recent rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination is fantastic news for all of us, but we cannot become complacent as this will take time. Please do what you can to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 and help us keep you, our teams and your loved ones safe.

‘We know everyone is tired and fed up of Covid-19 being a part of our lives, but we can’t give up now.’

South Central Ambulance Service has also tweeted about the increasing pressures on its Portsmouth teams and asked those not in a life-threatening emergency to access care via 111 or walk-in centres.

Helen Atkinson, director of public health Portsmouth City Council, added: ‘With case numbers rising in the city, pressures already being felt by our local hospital and NHS services, and the prospect of the relaxed restrictions coming into play over Christmas, I can’t stress enough how careful we must all be.

‘To ensure they can be there for us, we need to be there for them.’

Covid-19 vaccinations have now started in the city and the surrounding areas, with a hub at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Kingston Crescent GP Surgery and Fareham Community Hospital.

Dr Hannah Morgan, Hayling Island GP and clinical director at the Hayling Island and Emsworth Primary Care Network added: ‘Our practices and our hospitals are extremely busy and still need to ensure social distancing, but we still want to hear from you if you have health concerns – don’t store them up, phone us or contact us through your practice website.

‘We are really grateful for the way people have rallied round and supported us this year, but it’s really important that we keep that going. The important thing to remember is that we will contact you when we need you to come for your vaccine, you don’t need to call us.

‘In the meantime, we ask that you play your part in continuing to protect each other and the NHS. One really effective way people can do that is to keep following the ‘hands, face, space’ guidance over the winter period. ‘

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