• London hospital executives say supply of ventilators narrowly ahead of demand
  • More than 1,000 patients in the capital have now died with covid-19

London hospital bosses have told HSJ the supply of ventilators has stayed “just” ahead of demand.

Executives warned last week that, if equipment had not arrived this week, there would be increased mortality

Senior hospital staff told HSJ on Thursday afternoon that the number of ventilators arriving has kept pace with demand, although there is still some way to go. One senior manager told HSJ: “It’s still quite tight but fingers crossed.”

One large trust has been able to triple its capacity of intensive care beds. An executive at another said the equipment their trust had received was “not always ideal” but was ahead of what was demanded.

Another senior manager said, while supply of ventilators was “just ahead” of demand, they were increasingly nervous about a lack of other equipment, such as syringe drivers.

The capital is still the epicentre of the outbreak for the number of infections and total number of deaths. The latest figures showed 1,053 people have died with covid-19 in London’s hospitals since the start of March.

London North West University Healthcare Trust — which declared a “critical incident” at its Northwick Park Hospital site on 20 March — was the first trust to report more than 100 patients dying with covid-19. The provider has now recorded 126 deaths. 

There has been concern in other parts of the country that London might absorb all of the new ventilators, leaving other regions unable to cope when their own demand begins to rise.

NHS England and Improvement has collected data from trusts on how many ventilators they would require to deal with a surge in ITU patients, but the regulator has not disclosed what these figures are.

NHSE/I has been approached for comment.