Almost every hospital bed across Hampshire and Isle of Wight full as Covid rates rocket

Ambulances could be seen parked up outside the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester on Thursday, April 7. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Health leaders have issued an urgent plea to local communities as almost every hospital bed in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is full because of rising Covid rates.

NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG has revealed 650 people with coronavirus are being cared for in hospitals across the area, which is more than 2.5 times higher than in early January during the peak of winter.

More than 2,800 staff working for local NHS organisations are off sick, with almost half of sickness absences due to Covid.

Mark Roland, Department Medical Director, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust said: "I've worked here at the hospital for 18 years, I've been a doctor for 32 years.

"In terms of pressure on the services, on the hospital, on the emergency department, on the ambulance service, I've never seen it this difficult."

According to the Trust, beds are full, and so is the A&E department with patients requiring admission.

They say only patients with life threatening conditions and injuries are currently able to be treated.

Non emergencies will be re-directed to urgent treatment centres at St Mary’s Hospital, Gosport and Petersfield.

  • Mark Roland, Department Medical Director, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust says he's "never seen it this difficult"

People are being urged not to attend A&E unless it is a genuine emergency, and not to call 999 unless it is a serious or life-threatening emergency.

In a statement on the Portsmouth Hospitals Trust website it said: "Our immediate priority is to ensure there are beds available to admit our most seriously ill patients into and will be focusing on safely discharging as many patients as possible.

"We ask that families and loved ones support us with this and collect patients as soon as they are ready to be discharged."We will be reviewing the situation regularly and thank you for all your support during this difficult and busy time."

  • Steve Parker, Medical Director, Isle of Wight NHS Trust says there is no "wiggle room" in the system

Steve Parker, Medical Director, Isle of Wight NHS Trust said: "We're full, we can manage, but we are always hovering around 100% capacity, that's not ideal when it comes to preventing patient infections but it's a problem we've had to manage.

"It's a problem every single hospital is having to manage and there is no spare capacity or wiggle room in the system."

On Wednesday, April 6, South Central Ambulance Service declared a critical incident because of increasing pressure.

It was later stood down on Thursday, April 7.

Southampton General Hospital has also temporarily suspended visitors because of a rise in the sickness bug, norovirus.

Staff are also dealing with an increase in Covid-19 patients. 

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said: "Until further notice, visiting will only be permitted under compassionate or exceptional circumstances, in agreement with the ward leader."