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Covid-19: Critical Care Capacity - Private Notice Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:27 pm on 23rd March 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Thornton Baroness Thornton Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 3:27 pm, 23rd March 2020

I thank the Minister for that Answer. It is of course incredibly worrying that, at this stage in the pandemic, Northwick Park Hospital was forced to declare a critical incident over the weekend. That means that it ran out of critical care beds and had to ask neighbouring hospitals to take its Covid-19 patients. It is likely to be two weeks before we may see a steadying of the spread as a result of social distancing measures. If one hospital is already finding itself in such a position, then more might do so in the coming weeks and months. As the Minister said, it is urgent to expand capacity by increasing the number of intensive care beds and ventilators available. Will the Minister detail how many ICU beds and ventilators the Government aim to have in place by the end of the two-week period, at which we hope infection rates will reflect the new measures?

Also, the House may be aware that a fit and healthy 36 year-old nurse is now on a ventilator in Walsall Manor Hospital, having contracted Covid-19. Are the Government confident that the supply of personal protective equipment is no longer an issue after an increase in delivery in recent days and that there are plans to further increase the production of such equipment?