UK

Younger patients prioritised in overwhelmed London hospitals as care resources are rationed

Younger patients are being prioritised in overwhelmed London hospitals as the capital rations intensive care resources, say doctors

  • Overwhelmed doctors in the capital have started triaging their Covid patients
  • Shortage of beds means younger patients will be prioritised with critical care
  • The elderly will be moved to general wards under the emergency guidelines 

Overwhelmed London hospitals have begun ‘triaging’ coronavirus patients and rationing intensive care resources, it has been claimed.

Doctors in the capital said a critical shortage of beds meant some hospitals were implementing emergency guidelines to prioritise treatment for patients with the best survival chances.

This means younger patients will be offered critical care over the elderly, who are less likely to survive.

Overwhelmed London hospitals are said to be following emergency triage of patients, meaning older people are less likely to survive 

Dr Katharina Hauck, from the faculty of medicine at Imperial College London, said: ‘Hospitals in London are overwhelmed, which is a dangerous situation for all patients requiring urgent care … Sadly, some hospitals are now forced to follow … emergency triage of all patients requiring critical care.

‘Applying this guidance effectively means that patients under the age of 65 who are not frail will be prioritised over elderly and frailer patients for critical care. Frail patients would be cared for in general wards with less intensive care.’

Senior officials warned that the current lockdown is likely to be less effective at bringing down cases than the first – and it could be extended beyond March.

They said they are expecting ‘a flattened plateau rather than a fall’ while restrictions are in place because the new variant spreads up to 70 per cent more easily.

The vaccine rollout is unlikely to ease the pressure on the NHS yet because many hospital patients are in their 50s and 60s, and this group is not due to have the jab until the end of February.

Ministers will not consider lifting lockdown restrictions until hospital admissions have significantly decreased.

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