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London needs 2,000 more beds to deal with Covid surge even if Nightingale opens

London hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed and will be 2,000 beds short within days, even if the Nightingale is opened, health bosses have warned.

NHS England London region medical director Vin Diwakar issued the dire warning in a Zoom call with medical directors of hospital trusts across the city.

Even if the number of Coronavirus patients grows at the lowest rate, the Nightingale hospital is opened and other measures are put in place, the NHS will be short of nearly 2,000 general and acute, and intensive care beds by January 19.

The presentation, seen by the Health Service Journal, says more beds are needed, not just for Covid patients, but people with other conditions.

It accounted for the impact of planned measures to mitigate demand and increase capacity.

For both G&A and intensive care, three scenarios are detailed: ‘Best’, which projects 4% daily growth; ‘Average’, which plots 5% daily growth; and ‘Worse’, which forecasts 6% daily growth.

The briefing says that growth on January 5 was 3.5% for G&A beds and 4.8% for intensive care beds.

GP surgeries in England are to begin administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine as the UK faces a race to protect the population after the daily reported death toll topped 1,000.

The drive to mass-vaccinate the population will take a considerable step forward as the NHS in England said the jab would be rolled out across GP surgeries from Thursday.

The development comes after the UK reported a further 1,041 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday – the highest daily reported total since April 21.

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