Professor explains the intensive care procedure and treatment typically given to patients

Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at University College London, Mervyn Singer, explained why Boris Johnson would have been moved to intensive care and the type of treatment patients typically receive.

  • Why would a patient need to be moved to intensive care?

There are two main reasons. First for a greater degree of monitoring and close supervision. Secondly, the possibility that a patient will need more support for the respiratory system rather than just oxygen alone.

  • The Prime Minister is stable and is receiving 'standard oxygen treatment' - what does that mean?

That's essentially just a standard face mask through which oxygen is delivered. That can be enhanced to other forms of non-invasive support where the mask delivers oxygen under pressure or, more significantly, he has to be sedated and a tube placed down to the windpipe and connected to a ventilator.

  • The Prime Minister is not on a ventilator, but if he eventually is what could be the long term health implications?

People who need a prolonged period of care in intensive care often develop complications afterwards. These can be psychological and physical. They can have prolonged periods of weakness, memory loss and difficulty with concentration. The lungs are very badly inflamed and that needs to be able to recover for a prolonged period until the lungs get back to normal.