Swindon Hospital creates makeshift intensive care unit as coronavirus patients rise by 50%

An operating theatre at Swindon's Great Western Hospital has been temporarily converted into an intensive care unit.

A hospital in the West Country has been forced to turn one of its operating theatres into a makeshift intensive care unit to treat Covid-19 patients.

The temporary conversion at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital means some non-urgent operations are now being cancelled.

Bosses made the decision after the hospital recorded more than a 50 per cent rise in Covid-19 patients in the past week.

Covid patients at Great Western Hospital have gone up 50 per cent in the past week.

And Kevin McNamara, who is the chief executive of Great Western Hospital, has warned more measures may be required in the coming weeks to deal with the recent influx.

“Inevitably, because of the sharp increase in the number of cases and the number of patients we’re seeing with Covid, we’re having to cancel some operations,” he said.

Just overnight, we’ve made the decision to expand our intensive care unit and that means using space that otherwise would be used to operate on patients.

Kevin McNamara, chief executive of Great Western Hospital

The number of Covid-19 patients being treated at hospitals in the South West has gone up by more than a quarter since Christmas.

The latest data by NHS England suggests nearly 1,500 people were suffering from the virus in hospitals in the region on 5 January.

That is up 27 per cent on the 1,106 patients being treated in hospitals on Christmas Day.

Click here to see a breakdown of the figures by NHS trust.

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