HOSPITALS in Greater Manchester are set to run out of beds for coronavirus patients – while Boris Johnson could enforce a Tier 3 lockdown on the region in DAYS.
A number of the area's 12 hospitals are already full with wards in Salford, Stockport and Bolton at maximum capacity, a leaked NHS document has revealed.
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The hospital crisis comes as the PM plots to end his bitter stand-off with the North by making furious Greater Manchester leaders accept his covid clampdown.
Ministers “cannot wait too much longer” before they must act, a Whitehall insider told The Sun.
In a blistering attack on Friday Mr Johnson accused Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham of shirking his responsibility and warned he would “intervene” if the Labour mayor continued to deny the restrictions.
But the troubling NHS document suggests that Greater Manchester’s hospitals will soon become overwhelmed by patients needing emergency Covid care to save their lives, the Guardian reports.
Figures showed that by Friday 211 of the 257 critical care beds in Greater Manchester were being used for Covid patients or those critically ill from another illness.
This equates to 82 per cent of the region’s total supply of hospital beds.
While there were 110 people admitted to hospitals in Greater Manchester with confirmed of suspected cases of Covid in 24 hours before NHS bosses were handed the document on Friday.
Those figures took the number of covid infections hospitals were treating to 520.
Downing Street wants to plunge Greater Manchester into Tier 3 – the strictest lockdown conditions – meaning that pubs and bars will be closed unless they serve meals and households are banned from mixing indoors and in gardens.
Lancashire joined the Liverpool region in entering Tier 3 on Saturday.
The PM has been under increased pressure to accept a short national lockdown known as a "circuit-breaker" to get a grip on the resurgence of Covid-19.
But Tory MPs in the North have joined forces with Labour’s Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to oppose harsher measures.
Conservative grandee Sir Graham Brady, the MP for Altrincham and Sale West, yesterday warned the PM “Manchester is united” against the move.
Mr Burnham and all 10 Greater Manchester council leaders said they were not “convinced closing hospitality venues is the only way to protect hospitals”.
The mayor wants an 80 per cent furlough scheme for all affected workers, 80 per cent income support for the self-employed and a proper compensation scheme for businesses in the event of Tier 3.
But so far the government has refused to give in to his demands.
I want them to put aside for a moment some of the political positioning that they’ve indulged in.
Today senior Cabinet Minister Michael Gove slammed the Labour mayor for refusing to sign up for a tougher lockdown and accused him of “posturing” while Brits are dying.
Mr Gove told Sky’s Sophy Ridge: “I want them to put aside for a moment some of the political positioning that they’ve indulged in.
“And I want them to work with us in order to ensure that we save lives and protect the NHS.”
But Mr Burnham hit back by accusing the government of trying to spook Greater Manchester into locking down by “exaggerating” how bad Covid was in the area.
He said: “A punishing lockdown without support, trapping places in Tier 3 all winter, I think will cause real harm to health in the broadest possible sense.”
He said there are 62 people in intensive care beds with Covid in Greater Manchester – far below the 200 during the first peak in April.
He said the numbers are a “matter of concern” but the region is “in a different position” to the first Covid wave.
He added: “It’s a serious situation but I don’t think it was the situation that was described by the prime minister on Friday evening.”
Mr Burnham has called on Westminster's political leaders to help in "breaking the impasse" over the coronavirus restrictions by holding a Commons vote.
Despite the war of words on Sunday morning, the northern leader was said to have had a "constructive" conversation with the PM’s chief strategic adviser, Sir Edward Lister, in the afternoon.
Mr Burnham met No10 to get increased funding in exchange for his region accepting Tier 3 measures.
Mr Burnham called for MPs to help workers and businesses hit with the harshest restrictions by having an urgent debate this week, warning that "this is not just a Greater Manchester issue".
It came as 20 Tories in the South penned an open letter urging Manchester to sign up to the PM’s regional restrictions.
But Tory MPs in Greater Manchester have “gone bananas” at the intervention and told them to butt out.
Meanwhile, Labour’s Rachel Reeves told the BBC’s Andrew Marr her party backs repeated national lockdowns.
Her admission is a dramatic departure from party leader Sir Keir Starmer, who had said one circuit breaker lockdown would be enough to get the “R rate” down.
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