Intensive care unit capacity a real concern in Wales

by BMA Cymru Wales Press release from BMA Wales.
Location: Wales
Published: Wednesday 18 March 2020
Contract and pen article illustration

Dr Phil Banfield, Chair, BMA Cymru Wales Consultants Committee said:

“As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, intensive care unit capacity is a real concern as we know there will be an increase in demand that will outstrip existing resources, as has been the case in other countries.

“BMA Cymru Wales welcomes the news that ICU bed capacity in Wales will be increased, although this will of course require additional staff and equipment. Much of the success of ICUs being able to cope will be down to the effective mobilisation of staff and prioritisation of patients’ needs. Training has begun in how to ventilate patients outside of traditional ICUs, such as theatre and general ward spaces; non- critical care doctors are being ‘upskilled’ rapidly and the NHS throughout Wales is preparing as rapidly as it is able.

“We know there are not nearly enough ventilators in intensive care units and the UK Government is urging companies to produce more. We are worried – and we must see transparently what plans the Government has to expand capacity.

"The availability of trained nurses will be pivotal, but let us not underestimate the role that support staff will play in maintaining frontline services under unprecedented pressure, and the public in following social distancing and isolation advice as routine services are suspended to cope with the challenge ahead. ‘Smoothing the curve’ - slowing the rate at which the sickest Coronavirus patients need care - will determine how we are able to deal with this pandemic with the fewest deaths possible”.

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

For further information please contact:

Phone: 029 2047 4626
Mobile: 07500 765994
Email: Carla Murphy ([email protected])