Intensive care near capacity at Bristol Royal Infirmary as tougher restrictions announced

  • Report by Max Walsh

Frontline NHS staff in Bristol say they are already near capacity as it has been announced that tougher restrictions will come in from Boxing Day.

These restrictions are being brought in because of significant increases in infection rates, the rise of a new more contagious strain and the pressure this puts on our hospitals.

70-year-old Margaret Barrow from Knowle was admitted to Bristol Royal Infirmary with coronavirus at the beginning of the month.

The 70-year-old feared she may not see her family again.

She says, "I never ever felt so ill and felt so close that I wasn't going to make it."

Margaret was first assessed in the emergency department before being moved to a respiratory ward where she is still being treated. She says she could not be more grateful for her treatment.

The hospital has been experiencing normal winter pressure on top of the impact of a global pandemic.

Dr Rebecca Thorpe is an emergency consultant at the BRI. She says, "This year it definitely feels like we've had extreme pressures to deal with. The numbers of patients with Covid and non-Covid over the past few weeks have been particularly challenging."

Staff across all parts of the trust say they've also experienced more verbal and sometimes physical abuse than ever before. Credit: ITV News West Country

In intensive care, clinicians have seen the worst the coronavirus has to offer, where critically ill patients are put on ventilators and placed in comas.

The clinical director of the unit says it is coping but admits that it is operating near capacity.

Dr Matt Thomas says "I'm hoping this is the start of things settling down but you're all watching the news - numbers are rising dramatically in London and Wales."