Operations are being cancelled across the NHS, as health services struggle to cope with rising numbers of Covid patients. 

On Wednesday, one of the Government’s scientific advisers said Liverpool could run out of hospital beds in the next week, warning of a “dire” situation, as he urged those in the city to comply with its lockdown.

The city’s hospitals have begun cancelling routine operations, along with NHS trusts in Birmingham, Nottingham, Birmingham, Plymouth, Swansea and Belfast, amid rising numbers of coronavirus admissions.

Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), appeared in a video message issued by Liverpool City Council, asking the public to pay “great attention” to the new restrictions in the city region.

He said: “I’ve been asked to speak to you today about the dire situation that faces our hospitals in Liverpool. We have got over 300 patients in beds and our intensive care capacity is currently running at 90 per cent. 

“At this rate we are looking at exceeding healthcare capacity in the next week or so.”

On Monday, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Steve Warburton told staff that it had reached a “critical point”.

Steve Rotheram, mayor of the region, said: “The hospitals are concerned that they could be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people who are presenting with Covid symptoms and of course the strain that puts on ICU and on other functions within the hospital.”

He stressed that the Nightingale Hospital for the North West, in Manchester, is on standby.

The trust said 90 per cent of intensive care beds were full on Monday, but that the figure had dropped to 80 per cent by Wednesday evening. 

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