BBC host savages NHS chief over coronavirus preparation: ’You don’t have the beds!’

Rachel Burden spoke to NHS Providers Chief Executive, Chris Hopson, this morning live via video link to discuss the pressure that coronavirus is putting on hospitals around the UK. However, Rachel was forced to shut the Chief Executive down telling him that there just aren’t enough beds to look after the growing number of people infected.

Rachel began: “Things feel like they are ramping up a bit, we heard that we are in the process of possibly moving from the containment to the delay phase. 

“So how is the NHS bearing up under all this pressure?”

Chris explained: “Well what we are doing is, the departments that we represent are in the process of preparing for an increase in cases.

“Let me give you two or three examples of what we are doing.

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“We are increasing our ability to process tests, so, for example, the hospital I was in last week was having to courier all it’s tests to a region centre down the road. 

“This week it’s own pathology laboratory will be able to process tests and we are asking people to either go online with 111 or call 111, online first, please. 

“But we know we need to increase our call capacity there so that’s what we are doing.

“And then another good example would be, up to now there have been cases of coronavirus that effectively we have taken them to regional specialist centres.”

However, later on in the conversation, Rachel was forced to interrupt the Chief Executive when talking about supplies. 

Chris said: “What I am saying is if you were to be in any place in the world that was best prepared and best capable of dealing with this, we have got to be near if not at the top of the list.”

Rachel said: “I am sure all those things are true but we also know that hospitals are under acute pressure in their intensive care units.

“And today we had the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor saying that we do want more people if they contract this virus to stay at home and not come into the hospital for treatment.

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“So this is an acknowledgment that actually you don’t have all the beds, do you? To treat everyone that contracts coronavirus?”

Chris quickly continued: “Well so the things we don’t know is, we clearly don’t know the prevalence rate.

“So clearly if we have a prevalence at the top end of expectations like 80% of the population having the virus, that’s obviously different to 20%.

“But what the NHS is really, really good at doing is, for example, it rehearses very frequently of what would happen if, for example, a plane went down if for example there was a terrorist bomb. 


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“It’s very very good at flexing capacity to meet particular types of problems and let me give you another really good illustration.

“You talked before you came to me about the move from contain to delay. A key phenomenon in the delay phase is you need to contact trace those who have got the virus. 

“And it’s widely acknowledged that Public Health England because we have invested in it and built it up, has got one of the best contact tracing services.

“So I think that when we look back on this in X months time I think we will find that we have delayed the spread by having fantastic contact tracing.”

BBC Breakfast continues on BBC One tomorrow at 6am.

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