A hospital in Birmingham has cancelled elective operations as other health trusts across the country face increasing pressure due to coronavirus.
Pressure is mounting on hospitals and frontline medical staff as a combination of rising coronavirus cases, staff self-isolating and a backlog of other conditions threaten to overwhelm the health service.
In Birmingham, elective operations at Queen Elizabeth Hospital were cancelled on Thursday and Friday due to a lack of space in intensive care contributed to by Covid.
On Monday, the hospital had 110 coronavirus inpatients, 19 of whom were in intensive care. But by Friday, this had risen to 166 with 30 in intensive care.
Health bosses in Sunderland – a virus hotspot – say the trust is “under extreme pressure” due to the surge which has seen hospital cases doubling week-on-week.
The Royal London Hospital reopened its Covid intensive care unit on Thursday, as part of a plan to prepare for “increasing numbers” of coronavirus patients in the coming weeks.
Experts say the situation is being worsened by staff shortages caused by a “surge” in workers and medics being forced into self-isolation.
Latest figures show more than half a million people in England were pinged with instructions to self-isolate in a week – up from 356,677 the previous week or a rise of 46%.