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Coronavirus: Intensive Care

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 30116, tabled on 16 March 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase (a) the number of ventilators and (b) ICU capacity.

Answered on

30 March 2020

It is the Government’s priority that the National Health Service has appropriate equipment to respond to COVID-19. This includes the provision of intensive care beds. The Department is working closely with NHS England and the devolved administrations to ensure this is achieved.

NHS England is actively assessing the critical care capacity of NHS organisations and the availability of additional facilities in the independent sector. It is working to ensure that hospitals have as much ventilation equipment as required and, crucially, the skilled and trained people to use it.

A new temporary hospital - the NHS Nightingale hospital – will open at the Excel Centre in London next week. It will have capacity for 4,000 people.

Two new temporary hospitals will be set up at Birmingham's NEC and the Manchester conference centre and will be ready next month.

NHS England has agreed a major deal with the nation’s independent hospitals. The deal – the first of its kind ever - includes the provision of 8,000 hospital beds across England and nearly 1,200 more ventilators.

We have been buying up ventilation equipment since the start of the crisis. NHS England expects soon to have just short of 12,000 ventilators available and we have asked the nation’s advanced manufacturers to join a national effort to produce more.

Information on critical care bed capacity is published by NHS England and can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/critical-care-capacity/