Liverpool hospital doctors say more severe lockdown is needed

A full lockdown is needed according to some Liverpool hospital doctors, as coronavirus admissions rise and a difficult winter remains ahead.

A&E admissions have returned to near usual levels as some normality resumed towards the end of summer – and catching up on a backlog of appointments, treatments and surgeries is already a mammoth task.

But doctors are now seeing very sick Covid-19 patients coming through the doors of A&E with increasing regularity – in line with the rapidly rising infection rates in the community.

Dr Richard Wenstone, a consultant intensivist at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and former Liverpool councillor, tweeted last night after a busy and concerning shift.

wallasey printers liscard wallasey

He said: "Disappointingly inadequate, late response (yet again) from the PM today. Hospitals filling up (or full).

"Covid patient numbers escalating and still pressure to maintain elective surgery. Please close the pubs and restaurants!"

* Tell us what you think about the latest coronavirus restrictions

In response, his colleague Dr Junaid Rathore, a consultant emergency physician, tweeted: "2nd wave is truly upon us. One of the busiest days in @LivHospitals Emergency department.

wirral airport transfers mersesysideairportservice.co.uk

"This time we are dealing with covid and a hospital with no capacity. Hats off to our staff worked tirelessly to keep patients safe. We cannot allow elective work to continue."

Former councillor Dr Richard Wenstone

And geriatrician Dr Kiri West added: "I worked the weekend… Really concerning. Dread to think what full on winter will look like."

In just three days last week, there were a total of 428 confirmed cases in the city – including 129 cases on September 16, 160 on September 17 and 139 on September 18.

These numbers have contributed to an infection rate of 154 per 100,000 in the city, with a total of 815 cases recorded across the past week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new national restrictions, including that all pubs and restaurants must shut at 10pm, after warnings that cases could hit 50,000 a day by mid November.

Speaking to the ECHO, Dr Wenstone said COVID cases are not yet anywhere near the levels at the peak of the pandemic in April.

But he says he and his colleagues are worried about what is round the corner as winter approaches, bringing with it the usual spike in other respiratory conditions including flu and increased pressure on hospitals.

The Government has already warned that colder weather benefits respiratory viruses – and it may well also aid the spread of coronavirus.

Dr Wenstone said: "Winters are normally very busy, but you would not expect a normal winter to start in the middle of September.

www.wirralwebdesigners.co.uk website designers wirral

"I think what we're seeing is a big resurgence in Covid patients. It's not as bad yet as it was in April, which was particularly bad.

"But we were just coming out of winter, and luckily last winter the flu season was pretty mild, and by February that had started to fade."

Dr Wenstone said he and his colleagues were maintaining morale – but were worried having seen "a lot of things and a lot of deaths."

Keep up to date with coronavirus cases in your area by adding your postcode below:

He said: "I fully appreciate the economic issues, I do understand that, but to be honest I think that allowing people to continue to visit pubs and restaurants is not helpful.

"I appreciate the nervousness that pubs and restaurants have, and people who work in them might take a different view.

"But working in a hospital I am seeing the consequences of allowing this behaviour to continue.

NHS nurses at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, in Merseyside, fall silent at 11am to remember the dozens of key workers who have lost their lives, during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic

"We know there is around a two week delay and we are seeing now the results of seven to 14 days ago.

"So I would liked to have seen a more severe lockdown, I think that would have gone some way to protecting the NHS."

Dr Wenstone said pressure will increase as patients with flu and other respiratory diseases begin coming through the doors – as isolation measures will be needed for anyone with symptoms similar to COVID.

But he said: "I have to say on the whole the public have behaved pretty well. Obviously there's exceptions, we have all seen pictures from summer of people packed onto beaches and things like that.

"But for every one of those there are a lot more people from what I have seen that have stayed at home and worn masks.

"I think most people do take it seriously, but I do also think there has been a lot of fatigue around the messaging with constantly changing rules."

It's never been more important to stay in touch with the news, so subscribe now to the Liverpool Echo newsletter. Twice a day, seven days a week, we'll deliver the biggest stories straight to your inbox.

We'll also send special breaking news emails too for the latest stories that matter. You won't miss a thing.

How do I sign up?

It's free, easy and takes no time at all.

  1. First just click on this link to our newsletter sign-up centre.
  2. Once you're there, put your email address where it says at the top, then click on the News button. There are other newsletters available too if you want them as well.
  3. When you've made your choice, press the Update Preference button at the bottom.

In response to the warnings raised by Dr Wenstone and Dr Rathore, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) said it was planning around capacity challenges.

Dr Tristan Cope, LUFHT medical director, said: "We’ve seen a rise in both community cases of COVID and general A&E attendances but plans are in place to ensure patients are cared for safely, and we are monitoring the situation closely.

"I’d like to thank our superb staff for their continued efforts and we are also working with our partners to ensure that patients are also being discharged smoothly.

"It is very important that patients keep their planned appointments and anybody who thinks they have symptoms of coronavirus should call 119 or go online at gov.uk to book a test as soon as possible."

PUBLISH YOUR ARTICLE ON NEWSWIRRAL.CO.UK