Coronavirus patients may have life-saving treatment withdrawn if others with the virus are more likely to survive, according to new guidance issued to UK doctors.
Health workers could be forced to make “grave decisions” should hospitals become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, the latest advice from the British Medical Association (BMA) states.
The document warns that decisions around rationing scarce resources, such as ventilators, could determine whether large numbers of patients will receive life-saving treatment or not.
Image: A giant temporary hospital for coronavirus patients has been built at London’s Excel centre
The deaths of another 563 coronavirus patients in the UK were announced on Wednesday, the country’s biggest daily increase since the outbreak began.
A total of 2,352 people with COVID-19 are now confirmed to have died in the UK.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted testing for the virus needs to “massively ramp up” after criticism of the government’s approach to it.
According to the new BMA guidance, doctors will face decisions “which mean some patients may be denied intensive forms of treatment that they would have received outside a pandemic”.