Respiratory Diseases: Intensive Care

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 5 December 2023.

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Photo of Baroness Wolf of Dulwich Baroness Wolf of Dulwich Non-affiliated

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Markham on 16 October (HL10484), what was the basis for setting the number of intensive care bays catered for in their current strategic reserve of intensive care unit equipment at 1,000; and how that figure relates to (1) the current number of 383 adult critical care beds across NHS England trusts and (2) the peak of 4,500 COVID-19 patients receiving critical care.

Photo of Lord Markham Lord Markham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

During winter 2022/23, the COVID Strategic Intensive Care Unit Reserve had a core holding equivalent to supporting 3,000 intensive care bays for up to six weeks, a level consistent with the demand peak of January 2021. Between October 2022 and March 2023, the number of COVID-19 patients requiring mechanical ventilation peaked at 232 and the National Health Service did not require additional equipment from the reserve to meet this demand. The current holding of 1,000 bays is sufficient to meet the demand seen across the last two winters and enables excess holdings to be disposed of ahead of the closure of the reserve in March 2024.

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