Covid patients transferred to Sheffield from East Midlands to free up hospital beds

Coronavirus patients have been transferred to Sheffield from the East Midlands and other neighbouring regions to free up hospital beds further south, The Star understands.

By Steve Jones
Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 9:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 11:13 am

The process of ‘mutual aid’ is believed to involve two people per day being moved to the city from other areas, such as Derby, which in turn will allow patients to be transferred there from nearby hospital trusts.

Dr Jennifer Hill, medical director for operations at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the city’s hospitals are currently “busy” but not facing the same problems with intensive care capacity as some other trusts across the country.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Covid patients are believed to have been transferred from the East Midlands to Sheffield.

As of Monday, 415 Covid-19 patients were being treated at the Royal Hallamshire and the Northern General, with an additional 35 people in intensive care.

Dr Hill said: “During a Level 4 incident, which is what the NHS is dealing with currently, we would be expected to provide mutual aid where we can but the number of transfers we accept is carefully balanced against our own staffing levels and the demand we are experiencing.”

A level 4 incident is the highest state of emergency that can be declared in the NHS and involves the overarching body - NHS England - taking control of the overall coordination of the health service's response to the pandemic.

An NHS spokesperson for the Midlands said: “The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to manage significant pressure and this has always included mutual aid practices where hospitals work together to provide the best care for patients.

"While we are opening up more ICU beds in the Midlands, neighbouring areas are able to support where it is needed.”

To date, 4,200 coronavirus patients have been treated at Sheffield hospitals, almost a year to the date the first person was admitted with the illness. The UK surpassed 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday.

There are early signs of an improvement in the current situation, however, according to Dr Hill.

She said: “We are not currently seeing a sustained drop in the number of people we are admitting but the reduction in community cases due to people following the lockdown rules is a hopeful sign that we may begin to see an improvement in the coming weeks.”