Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust is recruiting more staff to allow it to open extra beds and faces the competing demands of trying to tackle the backlog of patients awaiting treatment while soaring numbers seek emergency care.
A total of 17,490 patients attended its A&E at St Thomas’ and its urgent care centres last month, 36.8 per cent up on the same month a year earlier.
Jon Findlay, the trust’s chief operating officer, said: “What we are seeing is significant pressures from the emergency point of view, particularly in children’s services.
“Emergency admission are at higher levels now than we would be expecting at this time of year, and above where we were prior to the pandemic.” He added: “I wouldn’t want to underestimate just how challenging it’s going to be.”
Across London, the number of Covid patients in hospital fell slightly yesterday to 959 but there were 3,648 new cases diagnosed — more than 300 more than the previous day.
Mr Findlay said increased pressures would mean that patients could expect to be moved between London hospitals to prevent any being overrun.
In south-east London this would mean Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College and Lewisham and Greenwich hospitals working together.
Mr Findlay said the trust was running at about “80 to 100 per cent” of normal capacity and was doing better than hoped in treating patients who had waited longest for care.
GSTT chief executive Professor Ian Abbs said: “The last few months have been exceptionally challenging.”