Ventilator 'rationing' has begun in the UK as only patients with a 'reasonable certainty' of survival are to be put on the machines at a London hospital.
The UK coronavirus death toll has risen by 209 in 24 hours from 1,019 to 1,228, as infections jumped by 2,483 to 19,522.
Machines used to keep patients breathing are being restricted on medical grounds, not because of a lack of capacity, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust told the Daily Telegraph.
The trust said that 'very poorly patients with coronavirus may need to be on a ventilator for extended periods', adding that 'for some patients this would not be in their best interests'.
A senior consultant told the paper: 'As we learn more about the disease, we are being much more careful about which patients are being considered for critical care. In normal times we will give most people the benefit of the doubt. That has changed.'
'With this infection you need a couple of weeks on a ventilator, so with resources being used for such a long time, you have to be reasonably certain the person is going to get better. Delaying their death for two or three weeks is not the right thing for them or for society.'
But the medical director of the trust said 'clinicians at our trust are not making decisions about ventilating patients based on capacity considerations. Our trust currently has good capacity for patients requiring ventilation and already has plans in place to increase that capacity.'
An NHS spokesperson said: 'There are hundreds of critical care beds available in London and thousands in the rest of the country so any patient that would benefit can get the care they need.'
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My view: The fact is we don't have enough ventilators that we need to get through this scary period. Yet instead of the government telling the public the reason why many COVID-19 patients will die, they tell us actually we don't need them as it makes no difference, many would die anyway, it's horrifying. China tested and monitored people early and saved so many by having lots of ventilators. China medically intervened early. In UK you have to be at deaths door before the doctor sees you if you're lucky.