This is how many Covid patients are currently in hospital in Central Lancashire

The trust that runs the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital exceeded its first-wave peak of Covid patients more than two months ago - and has been operating above that level almost ever since, the Post understands.

Friday, 29th January 2021, 6:12 pm
Updated Friday, 29th January 2021, 6:16 pm

As of 27th January, there were 183 inpatients with coronavirus being treated in Central Lancashire.

The figure was revealed at a governing body meeting of the Greater Preston and Chorley and South Ribble clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

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The current pressure on Central Lancashire's hospitals has been revealed in new figures

Separately, the Post understands that last spring’s peak saw inpatient Covid numbers at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals (LTH) reach the 140s - a total which was surpassed as the second wave took hold around the time of November’s national lockdown and has only briefly fallen lower since.

The CCG meeting heard that the critical care capacity at LTH is now at the “super, super surge” level, with a total of 44 beds in operation, up from 28.

It is understood that the critical care space is filled with a mixture of Covid and non-Covid patients.

Last week, the Post revealed that the trust was operating at “super surge” capacity and had been forced to postpone some non-urgent, pre-planned surgery - and temporarily stop scheduling any new such procedures.

A system of “mutual aid” is in operation across Lancashire and South Cumbria, meaning trusts like LTH are supporting others and accepting critical care patients from elsewhere in the county when necessary. However, CCG governing body members were told that the principle is now being applied across an even wider area.

“Critical care needs are being managed on a national basis and there is a significant amount of mutual aid and moving of patients taking place - not only across Lancashire and South Cumbria, but we have also been asked to take patients from Cheshire and Merseyside,” CCG director of quality and performance Helen Curtis said.

“Some of that is [about] recognising not only the need to manage Covid patients, but those patients who we still need to be undertaking emergency surgery for - [those] with cancer etc. - that we really do not want to cancel unless absolutely necessary.”

The meeting heard that a total of 599 Central Lancashire residents have now died with Covid since the pandemic began.