Ipswich Hospital doubles number of ICU beds as Covid cases continue to soar

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust Picture: ARCHAN

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said there are 25 patients in ICU at Ipswich Hospital. - Credit: Archant

There are 25 intensive care unit (ICU) beds in use at Ipswich Hospital compared to the normal number of 11, the hospital's chief executive said. 

Nick Hulme, boss of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust - which runs both Ipswich and Colchester hospitals - said the Ipswich site has created another Covid ward over the weekend following the rise in cases. 

The hospital, which normally has 11 ICU beds available, has doubled its capacity after moving some of its cancer activity to the Nuffield Health private hospital, creating another Covid ward.

Mr Hulme told BBC Radio Suffolk the hospital is using its surgery unit and as of this morning there are 25 patients in ICU. 

"It's a race between the vaccine and the virus," said Mr Hulme. "The virus is winning at the moment."

"It's difficult to see a way out of this situation without further deaths and further families losing grandparents and parents."

It comes after Mr Hulme warned on Friday that there were triple the number of Covid patients in Ipswich and Colchester hospitals compared to the peak of the first wave.

He said there were 430 patients battling the virus across both sites on Friday, a steep rise on the 143 during the first wave. 

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Mr Hulme also said the average age of patients being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 has dropped, urging people to follow the "stay home" message to help prevent further pressures on the NHS.

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