Matt Hancock admits Britain will fall short of ventilator capacity
Matt Hancock admits Britain won’t have all its new ventilators up and running by the time coronavirus peaks in 10 DAYS
- Ventilators are needed in intensive care for patients who struggle to breathe
- The virus is expected to peak between a week and ten days from now
- Health Secretary said the country was on track to have ventilators for 18,000
Britain will not meet its goal of full ventilator capacity by the time the coronavirus peaks, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned last night.
He said the country was on track to have ventilators for 18,000 patients – but they may not be in place in time.
The virus is expected to peak between a week and ten days from now.
A medical ventilator by the company Draeger (R) can be seen next to a dummy at the Vivantes Humboldt Hospital in Berlin, Germany, 26 March 2020
He said the estimated total of 11,500 ventilators then should be enough because social distancing had helped to slow the spread of the virus.
He defended the Government’s handling of the outbreak and said the Army had begun helping to get personal protective equipment (PPE) to the NHS frontline.
Ventilators are needed in intensive care for patients who cannot breathe unaided.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Mr Hancock said: ‘We need to make sure we have more ventilators than there are people who need ventilation.
‘We have between 9,000 and 10,000 within the NHS, and we have the 2,000 spare that are critical care beds with ventilator capacity.
‘We need 18,000 over the coming two weeks.’
He added that another 1,500 should come into use within a week.
Work at the ExCel centre which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital
Asked whether Britain would be below the capacity when the virus is expected to peak, Mr Hancock added: ‘No, because thankfully we’ve got the demand down because the vast majority of people are following their social-distancing guidelines.
‘If we manage to get this to peak within a week to ten days then the demand will be even lower than the 18,000.
‘But 18,000 is our current goal because we want to be ready with belt and braces for a worst-case scenario.’
He said he wanted to get PPE to the NHS quickly, adding: ‘We have shipped over 400million items of PPE and we’re shipping it at a rate of tens of millions a day.
‘We are asking people to put themselves in harm’s way to care for others, and we’ve got to make sure they get the equipment.’
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