Four hospitals suspend kidney transplants after COVID patients soar

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham is one of the hospitals that has temporarily suspended kidney transplants. (Wikipedia)
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham is one of the hospitals that has temporarily suspended kidney transplants. (Wikipedia)

An entire NHS foundation trust has put a temporary hold on kidney transplants due to the critical COVID situation in its city.

The four hospitals that make up the University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust are all affected by the measure.

In a tweet, UHB’s renal transplantation team said: “Due to the critical situation with COVID-19 in our area, we are temporarily suspending our waiting list patients for 14 days and pausing kidney transplantation in Birmingham.

“We will keep this under regular review and update when we have more information. #StayAtHome #StaySafe.”

The four hospitals that make up the trust are:

  • Good Hope Hospital

  • Heartlands Hospital

  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

  • Solihull Hospital

Yahoo News UK has contacted NHS England for a comment.

The temporary suspension comes after an investigation had already found that transplant patients were left waiting for operations due to intensive care beds being filled by COVID patients.

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Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham had already stopped any more transplant operations, according to The Independent, while Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge has done the same.

Figures released on Wednesday showed that hospitals in England had more than 32,600 COVID patients, while there were 1,564 reported deaths linked to the coronavirus – the highest of the pandemic so far.

The Independent reported that transplant surgeries had already seen a 21% drop in 2020 compared to 2019 before hospitals rushed to cats up over summer.

However, fresh restrictions and higher cases in the autumn and winter meant that hospitals were once again starting to fill with COVID patients.

Figures released on Thuday by NHS England demonstrate the scale of the crisis that hospitals are facing in the wake of the current spike in coronavirus cases.

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A total of 5,513 patients waited longer than an hour to be handed over from ambulance teams to A&E staff at hospitals in England in the week to 10 January – the highest weekly figure so far this winter, up slightly from 5,318 delays in the previous week.

Nearly 90,000 patients admitted to hospital via A&E waited over four hours for a bed to be found. while there was a record 4.46 million on the waiting list for routine treatment, including knee and hip operations.

HM Government, and NHS advice boards for people to not go out, minimise contact, stay at home and save lives during the third national coronavirus lockdown in Birmingham city centre, which is deserted apart from a few people on 12th January 2021 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Following the recent surge in cases including the new variant of Covid-19, this nationwide lockdown, which is an effective Tier Five, came into operation yesterday, with all citizens to follow the message to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
An NHS advice board for people to not go out during the third national coronavirus lockdown in Birmingham city centre. (Getty)

The figures come after chief medical officer Chris Whitty warned that the UK has not yet hit the peak of the current wave of COVID infections, with the next few weeks being “the worst” of the pandemic for the NHS.

During a BBC phone-in on the current high case rates, Whitty said: “I don’t think we’re yet at the peak, I’m afraid.”

He said the the new variant of coronavirus was causing a “significant problem”, adding: “We will get through together, but at this point in time we’re at the worst point in the epidemic for the UK.”

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown