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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 Northover Baroness Northover Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 3:27 pm, 23rd March 2020

My Lords, I think I was the first in your Lordships’ House to go through this virus, and I wish other noble Lords the best should they face what I did. I would like to flag to the Minister my experience of the lack of capacity in the NHS only a few days ago. It included: paramedics not knowing that breathing difficulties were associated with coronavirus; no proper delineation of red and green zones when we were in the isolation part of the hospital—we were taken through the A&E part to get there; and inadequate protective clothing of those in that isolation unit. Above all, the poor doctor who was looking after me told me that her colleagues could not be tested for coronavirus even though they were getting ill and had treated and given transfusions to known coronavirus cases. That was two or three days after Chris Whitty briefed us here about how testing was vital and would be continued during what was coming down the track—that is, the so-called delay phase. Can the Minister reassure us that such lack of capacity, which was astonishing in a north London hospital, is being actively addressed?