THE Royal Sussex County Hospital ran out of critical care beds amid a surge in Covid patients.

In a national survey, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust revealed that all 66 of its beds were occupied.

This came amid hundreds of new coronavirus cases being confirmed in the city each day.

Dr George Findlay, chief medical office at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals, said: “Our hospitals are very busy but we have prepared for this. 

The Argus:

“At the beginning of the pandemic we put detailed plans in a place to ensure we can continue to provide the very best care for all our patients. 

“These plans include increasing the number of critical care beds across our trust to support those patients needing this level of care.”

The figures showed about one in five major hospital trusts in England had no spare adult critical care beds

The trust was among 27 which reported 100 per cent occupancy of all “open” beds on Sunday – the latest date for which statistics are available.

The others included University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which had all 147 beds filled; Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which has filled all 75 beds of its beds; and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust in London – which has all 51 of its beds currently occupied.

Speaking today, Dr Findlay said: “We currently have critical care beds available and understand demand for critical care will continue until infection rates fall.”

A total of 209 people tested positive for coronavirus in Brighton and Hove over the last 24 hours, official figures show.

Public Health England figures show that 10,700 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am on Wednesday.

That is up from 10,491 the same time on Tuesday.

Caroline Lucas believes the Prime Minister's "incompetence" is "costing people's lives". 

The Argus:

The MP for Brighton Pavilion blasted Boris Johnson while responding to the news that the Royal Sussex County Hospital's critical care beds were reported as 100 per cent full on Sunday.

She said: "The NHS is at breaking point and the stark reality of that is playing out in our local hospitals.

"Yet the PM is incapable of making swift decisions about stopping the Covid spread, and his dithering, delay and incompetence is costing people’s lives.

"His Government should immediately provide the financial support to allow all nurseries to close, ensure people get liveable levels of sick pay and self-isolation payments, prioritise an effective local track, trace and isolate system alongside lockdown and vaccination and, above all, rebuild public trust rather than threaten and criminalise people in the face of Ministerial failures.  

"Let’s also not forget the staff in the Royal Sussex hospital and others on the frontline – they deserve our continued solidarity, compliance with the rules and an immediate pay rise."

The majority of the 66 critical care beds are filled with Covid patients, The Argus understands.

The situation at the Royal Sussex County Hospital has now reached a critical stage.

Hove and Portslade MP Peter Kyle said: "The latest wave of Covid is now starting to overwhelm hospitals.

The Argus:

"Our local hospital trust has acted incredibly responsibly and generously in recent weeks, even supporting other regional places such as Kent to shoulder the burden of Covid patients.

"But right now, beds are full and the biggest crisis is a workforce that is overstretched and bordering on burnout and patients are being treated in ambulances for their own safety because of the prevalence of Covid within hospitals.

"I have faith in our hospital managers and medics and staff but it is clear that further resources and crisis reform is needed including the consideration of whether other community facilities are needed so that A&E can focus on trauma and Covid and other patients can be directed elsewhere.

The Argus: inside Royal Sussex County Hospital's ICU Credit: BBC inside Royal Sussex County Hospital's ICU Credit: BBC

"We also need to rethink GP surgeries and the role of GPs who are extremely reluctant to have physical contact with people needing medical attention. Hospitals are the only place most people can see a doctor and that is causing unbearable strain on their resources.

"We put hospitals at battle stations at the beginning of the crisis, we now need to rethink the strategy in the final stages."

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Brighton Kemptown, added: "I’m extremely concerned – we need to make sure we’re moving people into proper accommodation.

"This shows why we need to be doing all we can to ensure that the coronavirus rate starts to drop."