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Surge in number of COVID-19 patients; Hospitals across south-eastern England postpone non-emergency procedures

As the number of coronavirus patients in the south eastern England continues to rise, non-emergency procedures in hospitals are being temporarily postponed. Officials say twice as many COVID-19 patients are now being treated in hospitals than in the spring.

The NHS in Kent confirmed yesterday evening that some planned treatments across the region would be discontinued due to the increasing treatment of COVID-19 patients.

However, authorities have assured that emergency treatments such as cancer operations will continue as usual.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS trust had 221 COVID-19 patients on 16 December. The East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust treated 357 people with COVID-19 on Wednesday. This is almost twice the highest amount they had at any point in the spring, when the figure was 187 on April 20.

“We are working hard to ensure we treat as many patients as possible, while ensuring we provide a safe hospital environment,” a spokesperson for the NHS in Kent said. “However, the increase in numbers has meant difficult decisions to prioritise cases of higher urgency,” he added.

The total number of Coronavirus patients in hospitals across England was 15,465 on 16 December, up from 13,467 a week earlier. In the first wave of the virus, on April 12, the number rose to 18,974.

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