A nurse working on a coronavirus ward was in distress during the first wave earlier this year as she saw her patients suffering and felt like "no one was doing anything".

Two sisters whose 82-year-old father died in hospital after contracting Covid-19 said they saw the nurse in tears outside the ward when they went to hospital to see their dad.

When they asked her if she was okay, she replied: "They’re all going to die and no one is doing anything about it."

During the first coronavirus wave, there were allegedly guidelines in hospitals to prioritise certain patients for treatment taking into account their chances to survive the virus, the Sunday Times reports.

In particular, elderly patients were denied intensive care treatment as part of efforts to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed.

Vivien's dad was at East Surrey Hospital

Vivien Morrison said her dad Raymond Austin died at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill.

She was told by the doctor that her dad would not be given intensive care treatment or mechanical ventilation despite his oxygen levels having fallen to 70%.

This was because the man's age, sex, high blood pressure and diabetes were all considered risk factors.

The distraught daughter said: "He was written off."

She described the setting of her father's death it as a “death ward” for the elderly in a complaint she later made to the hospital.

She said there were eight elderly men infected with the virus who she describes as “the living dead” lying in stifling heat in a "war scene".

While the sisters sat by their father, the man in the next bed died alone.

He died later that day without being given the option of intensive care, which the family things would saved him.

They fear he was a victim of guidelines that allegedly prevented many elderly patients from being given the care they would have received before the pandemic’s peak.

A Sunday Times investigation has alleged that elderly people were excluded from hospitals and intensive care during the height of the pandemic’s first wave as part of efforts to stop the NHS being overrun, which Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock said was their aim at that stage of the pandemic.

Protecting the NHS was a key part of the Government's messaging earlier in the pandemic

Documents drawn up devised guidelines — called a “triage tool” — that were later used to prevent many elderly Covid-19 patients from receiving ventilation in intensive care, the newspaper reports.

One of the documents allegedly advised medics that anyone over the age of 80 should be excluded.

The guidelines — which are said to have gived a score for age, frailty and illness — were allegedly used in hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool, London, the Midlands and the South East.

The Department of Health and Social Care reportedly insists the guidance was never formally published.

Mirror Online has contacted the Department of Health and Social Care for further comment.

Hospitals learned a lot from the coronavirus outbreak in the spring and "would do things differently" during the second wave, a top doctor has said.

Intensive care consultant Dr Matt Morgan said: "Hospitals all around the country now know the areas they are going to move and surge into if they see an influx of patients.

"We have bigger tanks of oxygen because we know we need to run more machines when people are put on ventilators."

According to official data, the UK has reported another 174 coronavirus deaths and 23,012 more cases in the latest 24-hour period.

The total number of infections in the country is 854,010, while the total number of fatalities is 44,745.