Wales is “uniquely at risk” if there is a surge of very sick people with coronavirus, a senior intensive care consultant has warned.

Dr Jack Parry-Jones is concerned at the supply of beds and staffing, because critical care units normally work at more than 90% capacity.

He is worried about the impact if demand here became as high as in Italy.

The Welsh Government said “surge plans were in place to increase the availability of critical care”.

Dr Parry-Jones, an intensive consultant in Newport and Cardiff, has said health boards could convert operating theatres into temporary intensive care units

“It’s a lull before the storm – and we can see the dark clouds gathering,” said Dr Parry-Jones, who is a Welsh board member for the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.

“We know in Wales we have fewer critical beds than the rest of the UK, and the UK has fewer than many countries in Europe. So that puts us more uniquely at risk of any surge in demand when we don’t have enough supply.

“A lot of work has been put in, on how health boards would increase their supply, but for us we’re still concerned about the supply of beds at this stage.”

He said in normal working conditions, most critical care units run at more than 90% capacity so any increase in demand puts extra pressure on.

In the past, such as in 2009-10 with swine flu, units were operating at well over 100% capacity which meant patients received critical care outside critical care units.

Source: BBC News

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