Hospital Covid-19 preparations statement

Speaking on BBC Radio Lancashire earlier this week Kevin McGee, Chief Executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

“It certainly is getting busier for NHS services across Lancashire and South Cumbria. At the end of September across the hospitals we had approximately 100 patients in our hospital beds with Covid-19. That now stands at well over 200 and the most concerning is the most severe cases in terms of our ICU bed capacity. The numbers are picking up, we’ve seen that for the last two or three weeks. 

I walk around the hospitals and the staff are, as ever, magnificent, but the situation is getting stretched. As we get into winter and we get the normal respiratory illnesses and similar conditions through winter, if we have that and the coronavirus cases continue to rise, it is going to put pressure on our services. It is really important we all pull together, that we follow whatever restrictions are put in place and we try and take off as much pressure on our hospitals as possible. These numbers are real and you can see that in the hospitals, day in and day out. 

We cope with winter every year, so at this time of year we are planning. We try and get more staff in: doctors, nurses, physios and other health professionals. We do this every year and we are really skilled at it. But clearly, there is a heightened sense of concern this year, with coronavirus on top of it. We have got some really strong escalation measures in place and we do think we will be able to cope. But we will only be able to cope if everybody plays their part. It is really important that local people listen to the measures and try and help us to try and keep our communities safe. Ultimately, we’ve only got a certain amount of doctors, nurses, staff that we can employ and that is becoming stretched. Everybody has to play their part. 

Throughout the first wave, staff reacted magnificently. The staff were just wonderful. But it felt as though that was for a period of time. Now what we are thinking is that we are going to have heightened pressure for many months as we go into winter. The staff, as ever, are pulling together and we will get through this. But it is fair to say there is a concern and that is why the message has to go out to everybody: we have to play our part, every individual has a stake in this. It is important we follow the guidance and try and keep ourselves and our communities as safe as possible.”

Listen to the interview

Listen again to Kevin McGee's interview with BBC Radio Lancashire on iPlayer (from 1 hour, 12 minutes)