Covid-positive hospital admissions in the West Midlands are not expected to peak for another 10 days as "struggling" frontline doctors and nurses lose sleep dealing with cases, a hospital chief has said.
Professor David Loughton, chief executive of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, this week let TV camera’s onto Covid wards to show the devastating toll the virus is taking on patients and staff.
He also said the military will be arriving in the region to help NHS trusts in Birmingham and the Black Country "next week".
Professor Loughton added: "The NHS is absolutely struggling, there's no question about that, and if we just keep breaking all the rules [we will] keep getting more and more people [in admissions.]
"Today's Covid rate is my waiting list for people waiting to go into intensive care in two weeks' time.
"I am predicting around about January 27, is going to be the peak."
Professor Loughton added that the pandemic is adversely affecting the mental health and well-being of staff.
He said: "The most difficult thing for staff within the NHS; nobody - but nobody - went to medical school, went into nurse training or came into the health service to watch people die.
"That wasn't what they trained for."
Professor Loughton added this was “not easy for NHS staff to deal with” and that even experienced consultants at his hospitals are “having trouble sleeping.”
He added: "There will be military personnel arriving next week within my organisation and they will be working under the supervision of senior clinicians and nursing teams and carrying out a variety of duties.
"I believe that is similar across the West Midlands conurbation."
He also said the opening of a second mass vaccination centre in the region was “imminent” following Monday's opening of the Birmingham Millennium Point venue in Dudley.