Coronavirus: Edinburgh hospital 'calm, controlled and ready'

By Angie Brown
BBC Scotland, Edinburgh and East reporter

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A consultant at an Edinburgh hospital says it is "calm, controlled and ready" to deal with an increase in patients who have contracted coronavirus.

Prof Simon Maxwell said there were not the "apocalyptic" scenes that people might be imagining.

He said the Western General Hospital site was "quieter than it's ever been in the 23 years I have worked here".

"Most outpatient clinics are suspended," he said. "Ward visiting is strictly limited."

He added: "There are many empty beds now being held in readiness for what is to come."

Prof Maxwell said "phenomenal" work had been carried out to prepare the hospital, and that it was "heartening" to see how all the staff had come together.

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"We seem to be a few days behind London," he said. "The current position is not apocalyptic.

"The front door of the hospital is calm, controlled and ready to receive the many patients that will inevitably arrive shortly."

He suspected that many members of the public were staying away, in part to avoid pressuring the service at a busy time, but also because of concerns about possible contact with coronavirus.

"I'm sure all of my colleagues at the hospital appreciate the support of the public during this difficult time," he added.

Applause for workers

"That support has manifested itself in many ways, not least the applause in the street on Thursday night.

"The best way for that support to continue is to be effectively following the government's advice on social distancing."

He also said it was important to "keep things in perspective".

"Many more people have died in recent weeks of heart disease, strokes, dementia and other illnesses than from Covid-19," he said.