Chesterfield doctor furious at rumours of empty hospitals

  • Dr Tim Meekings, an intensive care consultant at Chesterfield Royal Hospital

Health care workers at Chesterfield Royal Hospital say people who believe that some hospitals are empty "should come in...get dressed in PPE and help with patients," so they can see what the everyday reality of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is like.

In recent months, videos have appeared on online showing empty or quiet hospital wards. These have wrongly been posted to spread rumours that the pandemic has been exaggerated.

Dr Tim Meekings, an ICU consultant, says that "although some parts of the hospital may seem quiet," visitor numbers have plummeted and teams are not running full clinics like they normally would.

In our ward areas, all the inpatient wards, and certainly critical care areas, we're working at maximum capacity. It's never been busier. I think when people go film in the hospitals corridors, they won't see what's going on. We'd be very happy to have people to come along and help us look after our patients. Because it's the busiest I've ever seen it.

Dr Tim Meekings, intensive care consultant, Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

These videos are mostly filmed by individuals walking through quiet hospital corridors. They're often posted on social media pages run by anti-lockdown activists and covid-sceptics.

ITV News Central have filmed in several hospitals throughout the second wave. Our cameras have seen first hand how tough it has been. For example at Royal Derby Hospital, where there are more than double the number of patients they saw during the first wave of the pandemic last April.

At Chesterfield, Sister Sally Moore says it makes her "really angry" when people say hospitals aren't busy:

People don't appreciate how hard it's been for the nurses and the doctors, and everyone working in the hospitals. Because it's not just about intensive care. We've got wards full with patients where the ratios are really high, from nurse to patient. It's really exhausting. I think people need to realise it is real.

Sally Moore, ITU Sister, Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

Across the region, many people have experienced cancelled operations as hospitals are dealing with more patients now than at the height of the first wave last year.

Amid the increase in patient numbers, fake news is also spreading about the vaccine. Check out our facts and fiction article, which debunk many of the rumours that have been circulating online.

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