NHS moved to highest tier Level Four alert

The NHS has been moved to its highest state of alert on Thursday as hospitals battle to manage the rising numbers of Covid-19 patients needing care.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts and foundation trusts in England, warned “this is no longer normal business for the NHS”.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: “This number of patients we are seeing and the level of national co-ordination means that we really need to step up a gear to make sure this is all being managed effectively.”

But he added: “This is more an NHS behind-the-scenes administrative measure, so patients won’t perceive any difference”

Mr Hopson urged those in need of care still to come forward, saying: “We cant help you unless you come forward, so help us to help you.”

The head of the body representing hospital trusts in England has urged the public to stick to the new lockdown measures.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “If we carry on seeing the increase in the number of patients that we are currently seeing we won’t be able to look after everybody in the way that we would want to, particularly over winter.”

The NHS moved into its highest state of alert on Thursday in a bid to keep patient numbers under control.

Mr Hopson told BBC Breakfast that sticking to the latest lockdown rules was also essential to help the NHS recover some of the care backlogs that had built up over the peak of the virus.

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He said hospitals in Liverpool had almost been at the point of having to reduce the number of cancer surgeries in a bid to cope with Covid-19.

Mr Hopson said: “The whole point (of a level four alert) is that the NHS structure moved into action very quickly and those patients have been moved into other hospitals in nearby areas.”