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Oxygen supply at Southend Hospital ‘reaches critical situation’

Oxygen supply at Southend Hospital ‘reaches critical situation’ as doctors face intense strain amid rising numbers of coronavirus patients

  • Bosses at Southend Hospital in Essex say there is ‘high demand for oxygen’ 
  • They ‘are working to manage this’ amid rising numbers of Covid-19 patients
  • Patients’ oxygen saturation levels ‘should be kept within 88-92% target range’
  • Those with level of 92%+ ‘should have their oxygen weaned within target range’

The oxygen supply at a hospital under intense strain with coronavirus patients has ‘reached a critical situation’, according to an internal document.

Bosses at Southend Hospital said there is ‘high demand for oxygen’ because of rising numbers of Covid-19 patients and they ‘are working to manage this’.

An internal memo seen by BBC Essex stated that patients’ oxygen saturation levels should be kept within a target range of 88 to 92 per cent.

Normal levels in healthy people are between 95 and 100 per cent, according to the British Lung Foundation. 

The NHS instructed its suppliers to quadruple oxygen production back in March, amid fears they could run out ‘within hours’ if they were hit by a wave of patients.

The Government also issued a call to arms to non-healthcare manufacturers such as JCB and Rolls Royce to ask them to step in to build ventilators. 

Patients arrive at Southend Hospital in Essex last Friday. The oxygen supply at the hospital, which is under intense strain with coronavirus patients, has ‘reached a critical situation’

Some 480 deaths linked to Covid-19 have been recorded at Southend Hospital in Essex alon

Some 480 deaths linked to Covid-19 have been recorded at Southend Hospital in Essex alon

Patients with an oxygen saturation level of more than 92 per cent ‘should have their oxygen weaned within the target range’, according to the document. 

One doctor said it was a ‘bold baseline’, and another told how it was ‘pretty worrying’ while a third medic said there was no evidence it would harm patients. 

Coronavirus patients are given oxygen to bolster its amounts in their bloodstream, and speed up their recovery.

UK Research and Innovation says the ‘main reason’ positive patients are sent to hospital is to receive oxygen treatment which ‘will be sufficient treatment before recovery in most cases’.

South East Essex has been particularly badly hit by the new variant of Covid-19, with 480 deaths linked to Covid-19 recorded at Southend Hospital alone. 

This includes 17 Covid-related deaths at the hospital announced yesterday, which happened between the latest data period of December 26 and January 6.

It comes less than a fortnight after Essex today declared a ‘major incident’ as the number of coronavirus cases threatened to overwhelm its hospitals.

The move allowed hospitals to transfer patients elsewhere, speed up discharging, call in extra staff and cancel non-emergency care and operations.

Southend Hospital was also where Dr Habib Zaidi, one of the first frontline health workers to die in the pandemic, passed away in intensive care on March 25 last year. 

Southend Hospital has been contacted for comment by MailOnline this morning. 

This graphic shows how daily case rates have soared in Southend-on-Sea over the past month

This graphic shows how daily case rates have soared in Southend-on-Sea over the past month

Daily deaths within 28 days of a positive test in Southend-on-Sea have also risen significantly

Daily deaths within 28 days of a positive test in Southend-on-Sea have also risen significantly

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