Britain won’t meet ventilator target in time for ‘coronavirus peak in 10 days’


BRITAIN won’t meet its ventilator target as the nation hurtles towards the “coronavirus peak in 10 days time”.

Matt Hancock admitted the UK would fall short of government’s own target of 18,000 machines as hospital chiefs demanded answers for when they would arrive.

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 Coronavirus patients often require ventilators
Coronavirus patients often require ventilatorsCredit: James Tye/UCL

The number of confirmed cases and deaths from coronavirus have continued to skyrocket as Britain braces for “the peak” of the pandemic.

But even after the government announced a call-to-arms for private companies to help them make 30,000 ventilators, the Health Secretary admitted there still weren’t enough.

When asked how many there would be in a week, Mr Hancock said: “there should be another 1,500.”

He told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One: “We need to make sure we have more ventilators than there are people who need ventilation.”

Top doctors and scientists have estimated the peak could hit over Easter weekend.

“We have between 9,000 and 10,000 ventilators within the NHS right now and we have the 2,000 spare that are critical care beds with ventilator capacity should people need to come into them and we’re ramping that up”.

He said social distancing measures had slowed the spread of the disease and hospitals would need only  18,000 ventilators.

He said: “The 18,000 is our current goal because we want to be ready with belt and braces for a worst-case scenario rather than that central scenario.”

He insisted: “We are on track to meet that goal.”

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Chief exec of NHS Providers, which represents health service trusts, Chris Hopson said: “We’re leaning more about this virus all the time, including exactly how much ventilator and other types of capacity are needed for patients.”

“The key issue here is timing. It’s vital that we get the right support in the right place at the right time. We know that more ventilators, in potentially large numbers, are on the way.

“If we are approaching the peak of this first surge in cases in the next week or two, it’s still not clear how many ventilators will be in place at that point.”

Mr Hopson said systems to allocate and distribute ventilators to hospitals that needed them most were working so far, but said doctors still needed answers on when more would arrive.

As the government continues to fight to keep hospitals well stocked, the row over personal protective equipment on waged on even after Mr Hancock said millions more pieces were sent out to NHS trusts.

The Doctors’ Association UK said a survey of doctors at 150 hospitals had found 43 per cent reporting no eye protection at all.

Chairman of the Doctors’ Association Rinesh Parmar said: “Doctors are having to reuse masks that should be single-use only, and . . . nurses are doing high-risk procedures and they’re trying to hold their breath.

The government u-turned last week, and asking private companies to help make PPE and coronavirus testing kits, after previously ignoring offers of help.

British fashion house Burberry has turned its production lines over to produce PPE.

 Doctors are worried there is not enough PPE to go around
Doctors are worried there is not enough PPE to go aroundCredit: London News Pictures

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