St Helier Hospital’s 80-year-old infrastructure is struggling to cope with the influx of coronavirus patients needing oxygen.

There are now more coronavirus patients being treated at St Helier and Epsom hospitals (run by the same NHS trust) than there were at the height of the first wave of the pandemic last year.

On Monday, January 11, a new vaporiser will be installed to treble the St Helier’s oxygen supply.

There are currently 265 Covid-19 patients being treated across both hospitals.

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Chief executive Daniel Elkeles said: “To ensure the safety of our patients, we are closely monitoring and maintaining our oxygen supply at St Helier Hospital where all wards, including ICU, continue to operate to NICE guidance on oxygen.

“We have created even more capacity to care for patients in Epsom Hospital and the South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre so very sick Covid-19 patients dependent on oxygen can be taken there directly, and will continue to work with our community partnerships and neighbouring hospitals in a supportive network of mutual aid.”

As of January 4 a total of 424 people have died at Epsom and St Helier hospitals after testing positive for Covid-19. 

Covid-19 cases have been rising rapidly across London and as of December 30 there was a rate of 1,044 cases per 100,000 in Sutton, the 10th highest rate in the capital.