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Cancer operations cancelled in Nottingham as city and county braces for Tier 3

Top tier: People walk through Nottingham city centre ahead of tomorrow's increased restrictions PICTURE: GETTY

NOTTINGHAM hospital bosses have cancelled some cancer operations due to ‘pressure on intensive care units’.

The city and neighbouring boroughs had been preparing for Tier 3 restrictions to come into force tomorrow and a surge in cases has meant the rest of Nottinghamshire looks set to follow.

Metro understands that following talks between the Government and local leaders in the northern areas of the county today, the new measures are likely to affect all of Nottinghamshire from Friday.

Across the country, some 25,000 people could be in hospital with coronavirus by the end of next month if cases continue to rise, the Government’s former chief scientific adviser has warned.

Professor Sir Mark Walport suggested the death toll will continue to increase as there are ‘still very many people that are vulnerable’ and relatively few people have had the virus.

No time, gentlemen: The Royal Children pub, emptied by coronavirus, in Nottingham PICTURE: REUTERS

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust medical director Keith Girling said the trust had taken the ‘extremely difficult decision’ to postpone four cancer operations this week.

The head of the NHS trust, which runs Nottingham’s two main hospitals, previously said some non-urgent surgery and appointments would have to be cancelled because of a spike in Covid-19 admissions.

It is understood the trust has not implemented a blanket cancellation of cancer operations.

Confirming the cancellation of some operations, Dr Girling said: ‘We’ve had to make the extremely difficult decision to postpone operations for four of our cancer/pre-cancer patients this week due to pressure on our intensive care units from both Covid-19 and non-Covid related emergencies.

Shortcut: People use an underpass in Nottingham, where Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions will come into force at midnight PICTURE: PA

‘We expect to treat one of the postponed patients next week, and we’re in contact with the others to arrange a new date, which will be imminent.

‘This delay, however short, will be incredibly hard for the patients and their families, and I’m truly sorry for any distress this will have caused.

‘We are working closely with partners, and from next week we will be increasing our work with the independent sector to ensure we can continue to carry out urgent and cancer operations.’

It is understood more than 11,000 frontline staff at the trust have been tested for Covid over the past two weeks.

Professor Neil Ferguson, whose modelling prompted the UK-wide lockdown in March, told reporters that restrictions in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas of England are ‘unlikely to cause daily cases and deaths to fall rapidly’.

He said modelling suggests this could leave the country with ‘high levels’ of Covid cases, demand on health care and deaths ‘until spring 2021’.

Their warnings came amid fears the second wave of Covid-19 could be more deadly than the first.

A projection by Government scientists suggests the toll could remain high throughout the winter and result in more fatalities than in the spring, which have now topped 61,000.

Downing Street did not dismiss the analysis provided by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), seen by The Telegraph.

The paper said it had led to intense lobbying from experts, including chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Valance, to take more drastic action.

The Sun reports Sage analysis suggests the highest level of restrictions, Tier 3, may be needed across all of England by mid-December.

However, Cabinet minister George Eustice insisted another national lockdown is not necessary because ‘the measures we’re taking are certainly holding it back’.

Speaking on Times Radio, the Environment Secretary said the tiered system has kept the natural R rate of the virus of between 2.7 and 3 to the current level of between 1.4 and 1.5.

Mr Eustice said: ‘Sage themselves, when they posited that (a circuit-breaker lockdown) as one option, highlighted that it was uncertain how much it would achieve in two weeks and whether it would be enough, and also that there would be lots of negative consequences of such an intervention.’

Sage member Sir Mark said it is ‘certainly not unrealistic’ to think of 25,000 people being in hospital by the end of November.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘France, which has a very similar population to us, currently has about 16,000 people in hospital, it’s got 2,500 in intensive care beds compared with 852 here, and roughly half the ICU beds in France are occupied. We’re seeing similar things in Spain.

‘And these are in spite of these countries taking strong measures as well.

‘So the answer is that with our current measures, which are similar but with variations in different parts of Europe, there’s still evidence that it’s not – there isn’t as much social distancing as there were when we clamped down on the first wave and so we know that the risk is significant that cases will continue to grow.’