n NHS chief has said her hospital is running at double capacity after an anti-lockdown scientist claimed that it was “not unusually busy”.
Jac Totterdell, chief executive of St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Tooting, revealed she has had to expand the number of intensive care beds for the critically sick from 60 to 120, the vast majority of which are for Covid-19 patients.
The rest are for those recovering from other serious trauma such as heart attacks or road traffic accidents.
Nurses who would usually be assigned to one patient are now having to deal with up to four casualties at one time at the under pressure hospital.
Ms Totterdale responded to the claim St George’s was not busy, tweeting: “We have 115 critical care beds now opposed to the normal 66. So we are doubled capacity.
“Half of those 115 beds have COVID +ve patients, the rest are trauma, medical, cancer patients.
“Shame on this individual for propagating untruths.”
She was responding to Michael Yardley, a well-known lockdown sceptic, who also claimed to work for Pfizer the company that created the first vaccine.
He shared a crude table claiming to show the number of Covid patients in intensive care at the hospital along with the caption: “An anonymous person shared this from St George’s. Apparently, it shows ‘they’re not unusually busy’.”
Michael Yeadon, had argued in an October 16 blog post that the coronavirus pandemic is “effectively over” in the UK, and that “there is absolutely no need for vaccines to extinguish the pandemic.”
Yeadon hasn’t worked for Pfizer in nine years, according to the Associated Press and his LinkedIn profile. He was formerly the chief scientific officer of allergy and respiratory research, his profile says.
Ms Totterdale dismissed Twitter users believing Yeadon’s data as ‘sad’.
One Twitter user posted official Government data on deaths that are publicly available that differed from the print out.
She said: “Er, you do know that this data is published daily on the government website? You don’t have to rely on people passing you grubby bits of paper…
“Also please note that your grubby piece of paper reveals that 28% of people with this ‘very survivable disease’ never made it home.”
Staff in the hospital themselves say they are shattered.
“We make it look like business as usual but it’s very much not,” says Dr Mark Haden, an emergency department consultant.
“People are stepping up, working as they always have.
“It’s very stressful for staff and that is starting to show.”
Tori Cooper, head of nursing on the emergency department, adds: “There’s only so much you can come in and see an unprecedented number of healthy people die before that affects you.”
Matron Lindsey Izard said staff were so exhausted that she feared “a large number” would quit once the pandemic was over.
“It’s not just about Covid,” she said.
“If you go up a ladder this weekend and fall off it, there’s a chance you won’t get an ICU bed.
“People are still getting run over, they’re still self-harming, they’re still beating each other up.”
She said: “I really do think a lot of people have thought, ‘This is the writing on the wall for me as a nurse, I’m not sure I want to do this again’.”
A stark warning from NHS England showed the numbers of people becoming seriously unwell with Covid could see the capital’s hospitals facing a shortfall of anything between 1,932 and 5,422 beds by January 19.
The chief executive of NHS Providers Chris Hopson said the situation was “escalating really quickly” and that hospital bosses were “leaving no stone unturned” to ensure “every single piece of capacity” is used.