Ambulances with Covid-19 patients have been seen queueing outside hospitals in England as the Health Secretary prepares to announce tougher restrictions amid surging cases.
Footage on social media appeared to show emergency vehicles lined up outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and Queen’s Hospital in Romford, both in east London, on Tuesday, when NHS Providers’ deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery warned pressure on the NHS was “rising at an unsustainable rate”.
Further coronavirus restrictions for some parts of England are expected to be announced by the Health Secretary in a bid to help tackle the spread of the disease which has led to “significant pressure” on the NHS.
Matt Hancock confirmed that “further action” will have to be taken as cases of the virus continue to rise.
The number of lab-confirmed cases recorded in a single day in the UK hit a new record on Tuesday, rising above 50,000 for the first time, to 53,135.
First wave peak
It comes as hospitals in England struggle under the strain of dealing with a higher number of Covid-19 patients than ever during the pandemic, surpassing the first wave peak that was seen in April.
Asked if he is going to extend tiers in his announcement on Wednesday, Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast: “Yes, I’m going to set out the details of that to the House of Commons this afternoon.
“It is clear, as we’ve seen from the data in the last few days, that the number of infections is going up.
“That’s unfortunately not just happening in London and the South East as it was in the last few weeks, but it’s starting to happen also elsewhere in the country.”
Lewis Goodall Tweeted: “Staff are near burn out with lots of them showing signs of PTSD. I see nurses and doctors crying on the corridors before, during and after shifts. To anyone who says this is not real they need to be shown the inside of a Covid ITU or acute admissions ward.”
With this record surge in patients at hospitals right-wing commentator Toby Young Tweeted on December 28th: “Surging Covid cases, ambulances, not answering call, NHS in crisis…but percentage of ICU beds occupied in England on December 20th was lower than this time last year in every region of NHS England.”
The picture used under the comment showed a picture of an empty ward. However, all is not what it seems. The pic was a stock image that has been used for years.
He later deleted the tweet and even admitted he had published a misleading picture, with a follow up Tweet yesterday, but still argues he was right, he wrote “I’ve deleted a tweet comparing percentage of ICU beds occupied in England on December 20th to ICU occupancy in previous years because critics were responding to the stock photo that accompanied it, not the point.”
Toby Young later admitted he posted a misleading Tweet.
Related: Ambulances carrying Covid patients forced to queue outside hospitals at ‘breaking point’