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Nottingham in Tier 3 talks as region sees ‘dramatic’ rise in hospital numbers

By Josh Payne, PA
·3-min read

Nottingham has entered into discussions with the Government over possible Tier 3 restrictions after the region has seen a “dramatic increase” in coronavirus hospital patients.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust’s chief executive Tracy Taylor said the city’s Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) has exceeded 200 patients with Covid-19 over the past few days – with numbers “increasing by nearly another full ward of people” every day.

Councillor David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, confirmed he had received an invite to meet with a Government minister on Thursday afternoon alongside county council leader Kay Cutts.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing that talks with the region have been “ongoing for a little while” – adding: “There are talks taking place with West Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire today.”

The PA news agency understands talks between the region’s leaders and the Government will continue on Friday morning.

Nottingham’s coronavirus case numbers have started to decline in recent days – as 610.1 cases per 100,000 people were reported in the week to October 18.

This is in contrast to 926.7 cases per 100,000 people in the previous week.

Despite the falling number of cases, Ms Taylor said some non-urgent surgery would have to be postponed due to a “dramatic” rise in hospital Covid-19 cases.

In a statement, she said: “We have made the difficult decision to postpone some of our non-urgent surgery and appointments until November 6 following a dramatic increase in the number of patients with Covid-19 in our hospital.

“Over the last few days we have exceeded 200 patients with the virus in the hospital, and every day this is increasing by nearly another full ward of people.

Nottingham Views
The Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham (Emma Coles/PA)

“Some of these patients, 16 at the time of writing, are sadly very unwell and receiving treatment by our critical care staff. Some more have also died with the virus in the last few days.”

Ms Taylor continued: “This surge is now at levels similar to April and is combining with our normal winter emergency pressures.

“Unfortunately this means that we’ve had to make this difficult decision to pause some of the treatment we offer.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly but we need to ensure we have the beds and staff available to care for those in urgent need during this surge of Covid-19.

“I am so sorry that we have had to make this decision but it is necessary to ensure we can continue to keep everyone in the hospital safe while we deal with this virus.”

Ms Taylor said people in need of emergency care should still attend the A&E department.

Speaking ahead of the talks on Thursday, Cllr Mellen said: “We can confirm we have received a diary invite for an introductory meeting with a Government minister later this afternoon along with the leader of the county.

Coronavirus – Wed Oct 7, 2020
The number of cases in the region is falling but hospital numbers are rising (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We will be keen to robustly discuss and understand any impact of Tier 3 given the approximate two-week time lag before we see any potential impact, especially as we are starting to see the numbers reduce now in the current Tier 2 level.

“As part of what we expect will be ongoing discussions starting today, we will be focused on negotiating a financial support package that will help protect the health of local people, save lives and also the livelihoods of local people and businesses in the city.”

PA understands that before Thursday’s proposed meeting, the county council had held “internal meetings” about possible Tier 3 restrictions, but had not previously had any meetings with Government ministers.