Stay at home or 'more people will die' from coronavirus, warns CEO of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals

The boss of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals has warned of the "disastrous" consequences of not following government advice on coronavirus.

Nick Hulme told ITV Anglia that he was alarmed by the number of cars he saw on Tuesday morning, the day after Boris Johnson announced all non-essential travel would be banned.

He said: "I saw as many cars out this morning as I normally do and I simply don’t believe that all of these people were essential workers or going to collect medication or food supplies.

"People are not listening to the advice or heeding the advice and the consequences could be disastrous."

  • Watch our interview with Nick Hulme, CEO of the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust

On Monday the government said people would only be allowed outside to pick up food, help the vulnerable, take exercise or to travel to work where necessary.

Mr Hulme, who has overseen both hospitals since they merged to form the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, said failure to listen to that advice could be fatal.

He added: "Unless people stay at home and listen to that advice then more people will die - I can’t put it any more simply than that."

Both hospitals are training hundreds of staff in preparation for an expected increase in cases over the next few weeks. Clinical staff are being trained to deal with respiratory diseases, and Mr Hulme confirmed plans are underway to reorganise wards.

He said: "We’re thinking about our bed capacity and how we might reorganise that to deal with an influx of very sick patients, as well as making sure we maximise our ICU capacity."