Queen’s and King George hospitals coping says intensive care consultant

A senior doctor has shared his experience of the “brutal” and “relentless” task of caring for coronavirus patients.

Prakash Naik, intensive care consultant at Queen’s Hospital, says that despite an “enormous” influx of Covid-19 patients, his NHS trust is “coping” with the pressure.

Queen’s Hospital is part of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which also includes King George Hospital in Ilford.

The trust has had 74 confirmed deaths from the virus, compared to 138 at neighbouring Barts Health NHS Trust, and has begun to take patients from other trusts that are struggling.

Mr Naik said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of Covid-19 patients being admitted to our High Dependency and Intensive Care units, but we have significantly increased our capacity so we still have more beds.

“Yes, it’s going to change our community, our demographics, and our patient population.

“Many of us will know someone who has died before their time, which will be a huge loss for the families, and the community.

“But I think we all have left no stone unturned to care for our community in this very difficult time and I am sure my colleagues on the frontline will agree.

“This is a battle we must win, and with everyone’s support, we will. We are coping because we all have pulled together, proactively anticipating problems and trying to find solutions.”

He added the trust discharged “quite a few” patients last week and have been able to remove a few breathing tubes over the past couple of days.

He added: “When a patient is discharged home after recovering from Covid-19 it gives a huge boost to the whole team and, most importantly, it gives hope.

“There is a lot of talk about personal protective equipment (PPE). Be assured we have enough supply of the necessary PPE to cater to all ITU staff, and no one has had to take unnecessary risks.

“I also have a request for our local population – please, please stay at home, especially if you have conditions which put you at a higher risk. Follow the social isolation guidance strictly and stay safe. We will get over this soon.”

The worst day so far for the trust was March 29, when 13 patients died of the virus.

Death tolls since currently appear lower, though it is possible more deaths could be retroactively confirmed in the coming days following tests.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter