How are hospitals in the Midlands dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?

How are Midlands hospitals coping amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Credit: Jacob King/PA Wire/PA Images

By ITV Central Producer, James Clark

Hospitals across the East and West Midlands have been under intense pressure for almost a whole year as nurses, doctors and medical staff deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this article we look at how hospitals in the Midlands are dealing during the current second COVID-19 wave, as well as the latest data and statistics.

Current highest rates of transmission per 100,000 people (East Midlands):

  • Northampton - 657.6

  • Corby - 646.7

  • Derby - 646.3

  • Mansfield - 577.2

  • Leicester - 544

Current highest rates of transmission per 100,000 people (West Midlands):

  • Sandwell - 928.6

  • Wolverhampton - 884

  • Walsall - 737

  • Birmingham - 709.7

  • Redditch - 686.1

Current lowest rates of transmission per 100,000 people (East Midlands):

  • Derbyshire Dales - 203.2

  • Boston - 165.3

  • East Lindsey - 125.6

Current lowest rates of transmission per 100,000 people (West Midlands):

  • Stratford on Avon - 284.4

  • Staffordshire Moorlands - 250.9

  • Cheltenham - 209.8

Leicester - transmission rate 544 per 100,000 people

COVID-19 signage on High Street in Leicester Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images

In Leicester, a city that has been in some form of lockdown since March 2020, the children's Intensive Care Unit at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital is now being used to treat adults who are seriously-ill with coronavirus.

Children's intensive care activity is now happening in Birmingham so that beds are available to help deal with coronavirus patients in Leicester.

The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust undertook a similar move between March and May 2020 to deal with pressure during the first wave of the pandemic.

The main entrance at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/PA Images

READ MORE: Leicester Hospital: Adult Covid patients take over Children's ICU

The current coronavirus transmission rate in the city is 544 per 100,000 people (as of 21st January).

Stoke - transmission rate 386.2 per 100,000 people

Army medics and volunteers have been drafted in to help care for seriously ill coronavirus patients at Stoke-on-Trent’s main hospital.

Some 400 military personnel are now working alongside doctors and nurses in hospitals across London and the Midlands, according to NHS England.

18 members of Armed Forces staff have been recruited at the Royal Stoke University Hospital for the next three weeks.

READ MORE: Covid: Inside the hospital relying on army medics and volunteers

Derby - transmission rate 646.3 per 100,000 people

University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust told ITV News Central they are currently caring for more than 500 patients with coronavirus. 387 of these patients are receiving care at Royal Derby Hospital, and 137 at Queen’s Hospital Burton (as of 20th Jan).

Case rates in Derby are high - standing at currently 646.3 per 100,000 people. The average for the East Midlands is 399.2 per 100,000 people.

ITV News Central visited staff working on the frontline at the Royal Derby Hospital this week. They told us they're seeing more than double the number of patients they saw during the first wave of the pandemic last April.

They say they fear the peak of the pandemic is still to come, which could put even more pressure on staff who've been working flat out for ten months.

In a special report, our Health Correspondent Nancy Cole has meeting staff who say it's the toughest time they've ever known.

READ MORE: Inside one Midlands hospital as Coronavirus takes over

COVID-19 transmission rates Credit: ITV News Central

Nottingham - transmission rate 421.1 per 100,000 people

Hospitals in Nottingham now have 75% more patients with coronavirus than during the first peak of the wave in April.

This is putting huge pressure on every department at the Queens Medical Centre - particularly the intensive care unit.

Patients are also coming in from hospitals from across the region and the trust says they're increasing bed numbers by 200%.

READ MORE: Family issues warning after 14-year-old son is hospitalised by coronavirus

Birmingham - transmission rate 709.7 per 100,000 people

General view of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA Images

The data below supplied to ITV News Central from the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust shows the difference in coronavirus patient numbers compared to previous waves:

Wolverhampton - transmission rate 884 per 100,000 people

The city of Wolverhampton has the second highest transmission rate of coronavirus in the Midlands, behind Sandwell (928.6).

ITV News was granted exclusive access to New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton earlier this month.

NHS England allowed cameras into the hospital to show the reality being faced by health professionals on a daily basis. 

Numerous operations, including surgery for cancer patients, are having to be pushed back because of a need for beds and volunteers across the Trust are having to support on the units.

Covid patients in the ward, which is near capacity, are aged in their 20s upwards and the normal ICU capacity has increased by 200%.

READ MORE: 'Flooded with patients' - exclusive access shows strain hospitals are under during pandemic

People queuing to receive a vaccine at the Millennium Point centre in Birmingham Credit: Jacob King/PA Wire/PA Images

The huge focus now is getting the nation vaccinated against COVID-19. There are three types of jabs that have been approved - the PfizerAstra-Zeneca, and Moderna vaccines.

It's hoped that the top four priority groups will receive a vaccine by the middle of February.

The vaccination programme has been described as the largest in history and it is now well underway across the Midlands.

Hospital trusts and GPs have been administering the jabs, and now we're seeing mass vaccination hubs open across the region.

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