WORCESTERSHIRE Royal Hospital is operating 'at full stretch' and has been placed at the second highest alert level, according to reports.

The hospital is now at Critcon level three, which means a trust is at ‘full stretch’ after expanding critical care into other areas of the hospital to cope with demand, and is at or near maximum physical capacity, the Health Service Journal (HSJ) reports.

The HSJ also says it is running with a critical care capacity above 100 per cent of baseline - currently at 117 per cent as of January 7.

We reported at the weekend non urgent operations had been postponed at all Worcestershire hospitals in order to prioritise those needing urgent care with Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, saying they had acted “in order to help us manage the significant increase in the number of patients needing emergency or urgent treatment”.

Worcestershire Acute Hospital Trust was contacted for comment, but no one was available.

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Meanwhile there are calls from scientists for the government to make the lockdown stricter, with measures similarly to the March lockdown of last year, as pressure on hospitals continued to grow.

Measures speculated that could be introduced included nurseries closed, support bubbles ended, face mask being made compulsory in outdoor areas, and exercise limited to one hour.

Worcester’s MP Robin Walker said: “Any decisions made will be based on evidence.

"It is really crucial people follow and obey measures that are in place, because the risk is if they don’t we do risk even more severe measures being put in place.

"This is a very stretching situation for our hospital, it is an enormous challenge and that’s why reluctantly, as much as I would prefer to not have a national lockdown, I had to support the lockdown.”

Harriett Baldwin, West Worcestershire MP, added: “I support the short-term measures to act while the vaccination of the most vulnerable is rolled out but any changes must relate to local evidence and local behaviours and pass through parliament.

"I chose not to support the latest changes because I was concerned about lack of time limits applied to the new regulations and I don’t want to see the government adopting a carte-blanche approach to shutting down our freedom, our economy and our schools.”