Covid-related 'major incident' declared in Essex by resilience forum

There are slightly fewer hospital beds being occupied by patients with coronavirus in East and North

Stock image of hospital beds. Picture: Silas Camargo Silão/Pixabay - Credit: Silas Camargo Silão/Pixabay

Covid-19 pressure on the NHS and health system has prompted a ‘major incident’ declaration from the Essex Resilience Forum, enabling the county to seek further Government support.

The number of patients in Essex receiving treatment for coronavirus have increased to levels which have exceeded those seen at the peak of the first wave of the virus in the Spring. These levels are likely to increase further in the coming days. The pressure is being worst felt in mid and south Essex. Critical care beds across Essex are being used to help spread the load.

Leaders in the ERF - a group that comprises the NHS, blue light responders and local authorities - say the pressures are being felt primarily in the NHS and through local authority services. They are associated with critical care and bed capacity, staff sickness and self-isolation levels and the system’s ability to discharge patients quickly into safe environments. 

Anthony McKeever, executive lead for Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership, said: “We are taking every action possible within the NHS and across the wider health and social care partnerships in Essex to limit the impact on the NHS and the wider health system.

“This involves using critical care capacity elsewhere in Essex and the Eastern region and identifying additional locations and capacity to assist with the discharging of patients to reduce pressure on hospitals.

“Our strong working relationships mean we are able to respond effectively to support our local communities.

“I would also like to pay tribute to all those hard-working colleagues who are working tirelessly to support our communities across the system. They are all doing an amazing job in extremely difficult circumstances.”

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Chief Constable of Essex Police and Co-Chair of the Essex Local Resilience Forum, BJ Harrington, said: “Declaring a major incident enables us to seek further support from the Government to address the severe pressures which the health system is under because of Covid-19.

“The people of Essex have been magnificent and are only dialling 999 or attending A&E in an emergency – we need this to continue because this will help protect the very limited capacity available at our hospitals. Please stay safe; work from home if possible, follow the social distancing rules, and only travel if absolutely necessary.”