Critically ill patients are being transferred out of a hospital in Bolton as the NHS comes under increased pressure from the Delta wave of Covid.

The Greater Manchester town has been at the epicentre of the increase in new infections and is facing a growing demand for beds.

It comes as hospital admissions across the country creep up again, with the north west the worst affected area.

Tuesday saw hospitals treat 188 new Covid patients, the highest number of daily hospital admissions since April 7 and double the figures from early May.

With 417 new admissions in the seven days to June 15, the north west is seeing the largest proportion of severe cases, ahead of London and the Midlands.

Yesterday saw the highest number of new Covid cases since February, meaning more strain is likely to be placed on hospitals in the coming weeks – even if only a small proportion of these need treatment.

At the Royal Bolton Hospital, bosses have confirmed they’ve had to active ‘mutual aid’ plans in the region and call on the support of neighbouring hospitals.

The town has 41 Covid patients in hospitals, 12 of whom are in intensive care.

Last month, the trust said it had experienced ‘one of its busiest days ever’ and urged people to attend A&E only if ‘absolutely necessary.’

Cases in Bolton peaked on May 18 with 284 but have been steadily falling since and have been at around 100 per day over the last week.

It’s thought the patients being transferred do not have Covid and it is being done to maintain spare critical care beds to allow routine operations to go ahead.

During the pandemic, hospitals have been increasingly working together to ensure operations can go ahead.

Mass cancellations of surgeries during the two waves of the virus has led to a long backlog, with many waiting months for their operations.

A spokesperson for the Bolton NHS trust said: ‘Over the past week we have requested mutual aid from a neighbouring trust to transfer a very small number of patients out of our critical care unit, following the agreed plans in place across Greater Manchester to respond to periods of higher demand.’

They added: ‘During busy periods patients are transferred to other providers within the critical care network in a planned way to ensure hospitals can retain appropriate capacity, especially when looking ahead to periods of anticipated pressure and to allow patients to receive the best care in the most appropriate environment.’

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