EXHAUSTED NHS staff have said they are “not able to see an end” after spending more than a year treating coronavirus patients.

Critical care staff at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton said they are seeing “much sicker and much younger patients” being admitted than at any other point during the pandemic.

All 61 of the hospital’s critical care beds and full and a further 110 coronavirus patients are being treated on the wards.

Jess Canning, an ICU Nurse, told the BBC: “It’s just truly unbelievable compared to anything else that we’ve seen, especially in my time being a nurse.

“There’s also just on rhyme or reason to who gets really, really sick. We just can’t predict how they’re going to do.”

Staff said that despite the coronavirus vaccine rollout, they are still having to cope with a “stressful” workload.

The hospital's major trauma department has been relocated three times to clear the way for Covid-19 patients.

“This phase we’ve seen has been very different. They’ve been much sicker and much younger and we’ve got far more patients than we had in the first wave,” Denise Hinge, nurse consultant in critical care, told the BBC.

“I think we obviously keep hoping that we’re reaching the peak of this, it’s difficult to see how our level of patients will go down.”

Dr George Findlay, medical director at Brighton and Sussex University NHS Trust, said that preventing patients without Covid-19 from catching the virus is a priority.

He told the BBC: “Every patient’s tested on admission to hospital.

“They’re then tested regularly, at day three, day five and thereafter so we can pick up cases quickly and make sure they’re in the appropriate areas.

“All our staff are tested twice a week, so we know our staff, if they are asymptomatic but positive, they stay at home to protect patients.”

But the pressure on staff has not put an end to other routine medical appointments and surgeries, with cancer patients among those still being treated at the hospital.

Dr Sarah Westwell, Consultant Oncologist, told the BBC: “With this wave it’s very different because we haven’t stopped anything. So we’re still running breast screenings. We’re still treating with radiotherapy.

“And in actual fact, if you look at the numbers of patients we’re treating, they’re the same as pre-Covid, possibly slightly above as we’re catching up on some of that work we didn’t do earlier in the year.”