It’s no secret that our hospitals have been put under strain since the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation.
Our NHS staff and key workers are working hard on the frontlines to battle the deadly virus, and the deaths in London do seem to be beginning to fall.
However, one hospital that has been under the spotlight is Northwick Park in Harrow.
Harrow West MP and shadow minister for international trade, Gareth Thomas, has signalled that the large number of fatalities at London North West University NHS trust, particularly at Northwick Park in his own constituency, could be due to a mix of factors that put the hospital under huge pressures.
“What the medics locally seem to be saying is we have a relatively elderly population and large number of people who have underlying health conditions, particularly diabetes,” said Thomas.
“There also seems to be some evidence that obesity was a factor as well.
“Put all those together and that appears to be at least part of the explanation for why we’re the epicentre of this.”
Although London North West University NHS trust consists of three main hospitals, it is Northwick Park, on the border between Harrow and Brent, that has made the headlines more than most hospitals during the pandemic.
Declaring a critical incident on Thursday, March 19, after running out of critical care capacity, the hospital signalled a bell-weather moment for just how serious the coronavirus crisis would be for the NHS.
Thomas added: “My understanding is Northwick Park is the hospital of the three that is handling the most serious cases.
“I know nurses and support workers who work there, as well as talking to very senior people. They’ve been under intense pressure, some very worried, they’ve seen a lot of tragedy.”
Based on the most recent data available from the NHS, 411 people have died at hospitals under the trusts care, which as well as Northwick Park includes Ealing Hospital and .Central Middlesex Hospital.
Only Royal Free in London and University Hospitals Birmingham trusts have seen more people die after they tested positive for Covid-19.
On each of its worst two days, March 29 and April 7, 25 people died of Covid-19.
Gareth Thomas continued: “Staff are finding it easier now, it’s calmer, my understanding the PPE (Personal Protective equipment) issues are largely resolved and the hospital has more unused capacity than it has for the last few weeks.
“It appears across the trust that 60 per cent of those who have gone into impatient care have survived and have recovered.”
While the tide may be turning for hospitals in London after a number of days with lower deaths, emotions are turning to the government and whether it did enough.
“I sympathise with the government, its been a massive national emergency – but it is clear the lock down could of and should have been imposed sooner,” Mr Thomas said.
“It seems to me that we will have to have a national inquiry.”
However, through all the bad there is some good. MyLondon reported on Thursday that more than 700 patients being treated for Covid-19 under the trust have recovered.