The terrible crunch coming to the SW in the next few weeks: we have more older people and fewer critical care beds than any other region. These beds need to be increased by 600 per cent.
The Health Service Journal has published these stark graphs which show the availability and occupancy of critical care beds in each region. The SW has fewest acute beds and least spare capacity of any region. We already have the highest level of mortality from Covid-19 compared to the number of acute beds available. If the virus spreads through our older population in the community and in care homes, we face the worst crisis of any region.
The HSJ concludes ‘the shortage is largest for critical care where between 130 per cent (London) and 600 per cent (south west) additional beds are required to meet expected demand in the coming weeks, even without considering the demand from patients without covid-19. For hospital beds, the shortage is less significant with an additional 23 per cent (London) to 94 per cent (south west) additional beds required to meet demand, although far more of these are required in total.’