Addenbrooke’s confirmed on Tuesday (09/11) that it had 60 in-patients being treated for Covid-19, 10 of whom were in ICUWikimedia Commons

Addenbrooke’s Hospital is under “extreme pressure,” with Covid-19 patients reaching numbers not seen since February 2021.

The Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH), which runs Addenbrooke’s, confirmed on Tuesday (09/11) that it had 60 in-patients being treated for Covid-19, 10 of whom were in the ICU.

According to reports from CUH, 75% of these patients have no record of a Covid-19 vaccination. 

This comes on the heels of Cambridge and Peterborough being designated as an Enhanced Response Area on 1st November. The month of October saw infection rates in both areas surpass levels seen in January 2021. 

While the case rate in Cambridge decreased by 1.3% in the seven days to Saturday 6th November, “extremely busy” conditions at Addenbrooke’s are partially due to the recent closure of over 100 beds as part of an effort to limit the spread of Covid-19 within the hospital.

Hundreds of staff taking sick leave due to Covid-19 or other illnesses has also debilitated the hospital. CUH confirmed 408 staff were absent on October 28, 162 of which for Covid-19-related reasons.

Addenbrooke’s Chief Executive Roland Sinker warned that patients could face being sent almost 88 miles away for treatments if the hospital is unable to resolve its ongoing capacity issues.

The “mounting pressure” has caused a “fragile situation,” Sinker wrote in a letter to staff, with at least four Covid-19 cases being admitted each day. 

“This winter, the line between success and failure is much narrower than before”, he said

In a transcript from an internal meeting seen by the Cambridge Independent, Sinker revealed that the Cambridge University Hospital has been forced to postpone some elective surgeries, with the reduction of beds leaving Addenbrooke’s “ceasing to function as a hospital.”

“The plan B for us is, effectively, Cambridge University Hospitals, which has been around for 250 years, thinking about restricting access to care and saying to patients [...] ‘I’m terribly sorry we can’t look after you. You’re going to have to think about going to another hospital’” he said.

“And those hospitals need to be in London and Birmingham. We’re going to the heart of the sun.”

On 24th October, a patient awaiting admission to A&E died of a cardiac arrest in an ambulance outside the hospital; CUH has launched an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death.


Mountain View

Additional Covid measures introduced in Cambridgeshire to control rising infections

However, Sinker confirmed that Addenbrooke’s will “continue to provide vital life-saving specialist services to the region and to deliver transplantation, complex surgery and high-risk therapies such as bone marrow transplants.”

“The difference between our situation now and the impact of the early waves of this pandemic,” the Chief Executive explained, “is that we are managing the needs of Covid patients while continuing to provide surgical, outpatients, diagnostic, and emergency care at the same rate or even higher than before Covid-19 arrived”.

A spokesperson for Addenbrooke’s urged Cambridgeshire residents to “pull together” at this difficult time for the hospital, and encouraged community members to get vaccinated, and maintain mask-wearing and social distancing in crowded places.