NHS staff at a London hospital have revealed that they have been forced to prioritise which coronavirus patients get treatment in order to save more lives.
The UK recorded a staggering 1,041 Covid-19 deaths yesterday (January 7) and topped 60,000 cases for the first time since the pandemic started.
Staff at University College Hospital in London said they are being forced to choose between patients as the pandemic starts to overwhelm the NHS.
In a harrowing interview taken by the BBC, nurse Ashleigh Shillingford said: "We are so stretched we have to prioritise and prioritising care is not the NHS I grew up in.
"We shouldn’t have to choose what patient gets what care first.
"People are asking for your help and you don’t know who to help first. The patients are losing their lives at a dramatic speed.
"We are not just getting older people. This is young people that we are getting, people my age."
Intensive care nursing is highly specialised with nurses usually offering one to one care.
But now, nurses are responsible for three to five patients and the unimaginable workload and mental strains have seen staff struggle to cope.
Many say they regularly cry after their shift ends, with one healthcare worker saying: "I’m emotionally all over the place. Scared, sad, petrified, worried."
Three pregnant women are currently in intensive care at the Covid-stricken hospital.
Rachel Arfin, who is five weeks before her due date, said in a heartbreaking interview: "Every mother puts her child before herself."
"They can’t do anything that will harm the baby. They look after my baby so well. All the time, coming and checking, monitoring the baby’s happy.
"They are looking after two people. They are saving lives."
Experts have predicted London hospitals are less than two weeks away from being overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The update showed even if the number of Covid patients grew at the lowest rate, and measures to manage demand and increase capacity were successful, the NHS in London would be short of 2,000 general and acute and intensive care beds by January 19.
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