Coronavirus in Scotland: Queen Elizabeth University Hospital turned away emergency calls after becoming 'overwhelmed with covid cases'

Ambulances were directed away from Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow today as frontline staff were faced with an ‘overwhelming’ number of covid patients.

In total 10 patients who would usually have been treated at the 1,677 bed acute hospital - located in Govan - were redirected as the hospital battled to cope with rising covid cases.

Frontline workers at the flagship hospital, one of the largest in the UK, raised concerns after staff at the Glasgow hospital stopped taking emergency calls.

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One member of staff said the hospital was “overwhelmed by covid cases” which led to patients being diverted.

Another, a senior doctor who did not wish to be named, said the hospital had been pushed to capacity by a combination of a ‘normal winter’ health problems and coronavirus.

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "Queen Elizabeth University Hospital remains busy as we continue to treat COVID-19 patients as well as emergency trauma patients due to the current icy conditions.

“We regularly utilise all of our hospital sites to make sure patients receive the right care at the right time.

"This morning, 10 people were diverted from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Royal Alexandra Hospital to ensure the safety of all patients and support the high levels of activity in the QEUH Emergency Department.”

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow (Photo: Google Maps).
Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow (Photo: Google Maps).

She added: “We want to thank our staff who continue to work hard in challenging circumstances.”

The health board is encouraging the public to call make use of the NHS 24 111 phone line and minor injury units ‘if appropriate’ as pressure on emergency departments mounts.

Scottish Ambulance Service declined to comment, stating it was a matter for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Today’s coronavirus figures show that 1,384 people are in hospitals across Scotland with recently confirmed coronavirus as the country records 2,039 new cases of virus in the past 24 hours.

The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is one of the largest acute hospitals in the UK.

A total of 95 people are in intensive care across the country with the virus and 68 deaths have been recorded.

On Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that 695 out of 2,529 new cases of coronavirus reported yesterday were in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

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