Covid: Newcastle hospitals 'could stop patient transfers'

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image copyrightNewcastle University
image captionNewcastle has been taking patients from other hospitals in the North East and further afield

Hospitals in Newcastle could stop taking Covid patients from elsewhere in England due to pressure on local services, a health chief has said.

Dame Jackie Daniel told a meeting of city leaders two patients per day had been brought in from elsewhere in the UK for about a week and a half.

She said capacity was being monitored and pressure on hospitals was rising.

City council leader Nick Forbes said it was not in the culture of Newcastle or the NHS to turn people away.

The BBC reported a small number of Covid patients from as far away as London had been transferred to the city, which was then denied by NHS England.

Dame Jackie, chief executive of the trust which runs the Royal Victoria Infirmary and Freeman Hospital, said: "We have been asked for about a week and a half to take transfers in, two a day, from other places in the UK.

"We have been doing that, but as a consequence the pressure that has been in the regional system has been rising over that period.

"We are at a point now where we are considering the ability to take national patients very carefully, because what we are also finding is that there are a lot of transfers of critical care patients across the region itself."

'Feeling optimistic'

The meeting also heard there was hope that the latest rise in Covid cases would start to ease soon, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Dame Jackie said: "I am feeling optimistic because I hope we are going to see a flattening in terms of levels of pressure in hospitals, but it is important to say that we are not seeing that just right now and I don't think we will see it probably until the early part of next week."

Meanwhile, Mr Forbes told the meeting he was "quite upset and angry" at people questioning why Newcastle was taking Covid patients from outside the region.

"That is not how our NHS works and that is not our culture as a city, in terms of turning away people in need," he said.

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