Military planners have identified ways to significantly increase bed capacity on the Isle of Wight at both the St Mary’s Hospital site in Newport and at other locations around the Island.
With the number of patients presenting with coronavirus symptoms continuing to rise, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust has been working with the military to explore contingency options. It’s said that should the need arise plans have been identified to deliver a ‘significant increase’ in additional beds at St Mary’s.
The Isle of Wight NHS Trust says that as many as 200 additional beds could be made available as we move towards the peak of the pandemic, which could be as soon as 12th April. That said, Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely has said the peak here could be 3-6 weeks away.
Teams have also been working to identify potential other sites around the Island that could be used for treating patients, if required – thought to mean field hospitals.
Meanwhile, Island Echo can exclusively reveal that 3 large mobile refrigeration units have been shipped to the Island to act as temporary storage for the deceased. With things expected to get worse before they get better, authorities have established the temporary mortuary in order to deal with a rise in deaths locally.
Work has already been taking place at St Mary’s with the Intensive Care Unit increased from 6 ventilated beds to 18, with further plans to increase this to 45. A number of other wards – thought to be 5 – have also been reconfigured to create isolation wards.
It is understood that an area used for storing patient records has also been cleared with the files being transferred to Parkhurst prison across the road. The Laidlaw outbuilding has also been repurposed.
The Community Unit at the hospital has been temporarily moved to Ryde Health and Wellbeing Centre, freeing up a total of 25 beds on the main hospital site.
In a short statement issued on Wednesday, the Trust said that it would be announcing details about their plans over the coming days.