Published: 09:01, 29 December 2020
| Updated: 11:14, 29 December 2020
An image of ambulances queuing at Medway Hospital has highlighted increasing pressures on the NHS trust following a surge in coronavirus cases.
Student paramedic Cameron Walker posted a photo last night on Twitter showing eight ambulances outside the hospital, but said around 20 crews were waiting to be dealt with, with some waiting up to six hours.
Yesterday it was revealed there are now more Covid-19 patients in hospitals in England than during the peak of the first wave in April.
NHS England data showed there were 20,426 patients in NHS hospitals in England as of 8am on Monday, compared to the 18,974 patients recorded on April 12.
Medway Labour Leader Vince Maple thanked Cameron for highlighting the situation at Medway, adding: "The brilliant people at @Medway_NHS_FT and@SECAmbulance are doing all they humanly can but these are unprecedented levels.
"Please Stay Safe Everyone."
Government figures this week showed the number of further lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus recorded in a single day in the UK also hit a new high of 41,385 as of 9am Monday.
Meanwhile there have been warnings that hospitals throughout the South are facing increasing pressures.
Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “We know that the rate of Covid-19 admissions is rising and some trusts are reporting up to three times the number of Covid patients than at the peak of the first wave.
“This means hospitals and also ambulance services in Tier 4 areas and beyond are incredibly busy, compounded by increasing staff absences due to illness and the need to self-isolate.”
Earlier this month emergency planners in Kent met over concerns ambulances would not be able to get some patients into hospitals, as casualty departments were stretched to their limits.
A South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said at the time crews were continuing to see periods where the time taken to hand over patients at hospital was taking significantly longer than they would like, and said the trust was continuing to work closely with all our hospitals to manage the demand.
Medway NHS Foundation Trust has been approached for a comment.