Advising with empathy and experience

Royal Liverpool Hospital 'hanging by a thread'.

A senior physician at Royal Liverpool Hospital said at the end of November that staff were 'hanging by a thread' as Covid-19 patients continued to surge through the doors.

Government figures showed that there were 9,077 Covid-19 patients in hospital in England around that time, up from 7,225 a week before, while 802 were in ventilation beds, an increase of 662.

A total of 1,109 patients with confirmed Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals in England around that time, compared with 997 a week earlier.

In the seven days up to October 25, Liverpool had an infection rate of 475.5 cases per 100,000 residents, down from 585.1 for the previous week.

Director of public health for Liverpool, Matt Ashton, said: "It may seem as though it has been all doom and gloom lately, but these latest figures give us a glimmer of optimism.

"Seeing a decline in the infection rates indicates that we are on the right path. However, it's important we're realistic and know that to get on top of this virus will take time and effort.

"We just need to remember to follow the guidelines and, if you have symptoms, get tested and self-isolate if you are asked to do so"

But while rates are now falling in all six local authorities that comprise Liverpool City Region: Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral, hospital in-patients are increasing.

Liverpool University Hospitals Trust, which also runs Aintree and Broadgreen Hospitals, had 463 Covid in-patients -  73 more than the peak of 390 in early April.

Divisional medical director at Royal Liverpool Hospital, Dr Oliver Zuzan, said "We are hanging by a thread. People are right to say that these are pressures that occur every winter, but this time it's just a lot worse. This is winter plus, plus, plus.”

Dr Zuzan added: "If you don't listen to us, if you don't adhere to those restrictions, you will harm your friends. You will harm your family, your neighbours, and you might even harm yourself."

Meanwhile, fellow medical director, Dr Tristan Cope, said  "We're very close to the limits of what Liverpool hospitals can cope with in terms of the number of patients, particularly - without having to postpone more of those urgent surgical procedures."