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Addenbrooke’s Hospital chief predicts 460 beds needed for coronavirus outbreak

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The chief executive of Addenbrooke’s Hospital estimates that 460 available beds could be needed for Covid-19 patients.

Roland Sinker, Chief Executive of the CUH Trust at Addenbrooke's Treatment Centre, Keith Day Rd, Cambridge . Picture: Keith Heppell. (32728625)
Roland Sinker, Chief Executive of the CUH Trust at Addenbrooke's Treatment Centre, Keith Day Rd, Cambridge . Picture: Keith Heppell. (32728625)

Cambridge University Hospital NHS Trust chief Roland Sinker said this would be in the “reasonable worst case scenario” modelled by its own experts.

The study suggests 135 of these will be critical care beds, where patients will need to be supported with ventilation.

“We are still in a race to get ahead of the curve and prepare as well as we can for what we will face in the coming days. Our two key goals as we manage this outbreak are to work together to save lives and keep our staff safe. These are of equal priority and drive everything we are doing,” Mr Sinker said.

He continued: “While the lockdown of the country should help reduce transmission, we are planning on the basis that it won’t, which we feel is prudent at this time. We are now making plans for equipment, staffing and other operational requirements to deliver this level of care.”

Mr Sinker reveals that the hospital also plans to increase the number of adult ventilated beds from the usual number of 32 up to 92 and are working on stretch plans to increase this to around 150. The stretch plan will require the delivery of at least 60 new ventilators over the next few weeks.

According to the latest data Cambridgeshire had 109 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of Monday, March 30.

The hospital confirmed on Sunday, March 29, that a patient in their 90s with underlying health conditions was the first Covid-19 patient to die at Addenbrooke’s.

In his letter to stakeholders, Mr Sinke said the trust had 381 empty beds, separate Covid and non-Covid pathways in the emergency department, a process for receiving admission of respiratory patients and a plan to significantly increase the number of critical care beds in the hospital that is partly enacted.

It has also suspended normal business including stopping visitors to wards and clinics and postponing all non-emergency surgery.

He confirmed that the hospital is treating 61 patients with confirmed coronavirus and 13 of them were in critical care. A further 65 patients are suspected as Covid-19 positive and are awaiting test results.

Mr Sinker says the majority of the Covid-19 inpatients have underlying health issues that are recognised to lead them to severe disease. He also confirms that 10 patients have been sent home after being an inpatient at the hospital with Covid-19.

“We continue to take huge steps forward as we prepare for the peak of the outbreak. This is a testament to our teams on the ground and their ability to think on their feet and act decisively. We have been better connecting the work of our frontline clinical teams with the task forces that form part of our operational plan.

“Our goal is to harness the tremendous subject matter expertise we have here at CUH to deliver the highest possible level of preparation,” he wrote.

Mr Sinker also addressed the “significant concern and anxiety” caused by questions around PPE equipment for staff.

He said they have issued new guidance which has been tested “through a modelling exercise” that shows how much supply they will need.

He added that he believes there is enough supply to support the trust’s approach.

“Our partner, the University of Cambridge, is doing everything it can to support us in this incident. I am hugely grateful for the PPE supplies university staff are providing from their laboratories and their contacts. Other major offers of support continue to flow in and we are so grateful for this.

“Our procurement team is working around the clock to source, take delivery of and distribute supplies. They are under huge pressure and I’m extremely grateful for their skill and effort at this time.”

The trust is also offering free temporary accommodation, travel support where public transport is no longer available, free on-site car parking, support with childcare and psychological support for those members of staff who need it.

It is also working hard to ensure that on-site catering facilities stay open to provide food and drink on clinical areas where leaving these areas during shifts is increasingly challenging.

Paying tribute to staff, he wrote: “As the pressure grows in the days to come, it will be important to know that we did everything we could to be ready.

“We have a plan but we recognise that our plan will face significant challenges.

“This is a time when we must focus on doing our best while understanding that this is all we can do.

“We are one of the leading hospitals in the region, the country and the world, and our skill and expertise alongside our dedication to patient care will be an enormous resource to draw on during this outbreak.

“Working with you, our partners and stakeholders, we can be a huge force for good in Cambridgeshire and the wider region. I’m so proud to be part of CUH today. Like many of the population, I applaud all our staff for what they are doing for our patients and for each other, and I continue to thank you, our stakeholders, for your ongoing support.”

Read more:

Addenbrooke’s Hospital ‘considers emergency expansion plan’ for coronavirus peak

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