A north-west London hospital that ran out of intensive care beds for was taking seriously ill coronavirus patients from other parts of the country.

Northwick Park Hospital, in Harrow, declared a critical incident last Thursday (March 19) after the number of Covid-19 patients surged.

And on Tuesday, almost a quarter of all Covid-19 deaths in the UK – 21 of 87 – were at London North West University NHS Trust.

But as a specialist centre for infectious diseases, Northwick Park has been treating patients from outside the local area, an intensive care registrar has confirmed.

Dr Paul Tanto, who works on the front line at the hospital, said seriously ill patients brought in from other areas skewed the statistics.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of Parliament’s Health and Social Care Committee yesterday, he said: “Northwick Park is a centre of specialism for infectious diseases with some notable clinicians who work there.

“The consequence of that is that the hospital has taken Covid-19 patients from other parts of the country to Northwick Park for infectious diseases treatment.

“I think by definition they will be iller than elsewhere and as a consequence, as we all know, iller patients have a higher risk of mortality.”

But Dr Tanto warned that many people in Harrow and Brent could also be vulnerable to the virus.

He said the high number of house-shares in the two boroughs increased the danger of social mixing.

And many families in the area have three generations living together, which puts older residents at greater risk, he said.

There have been 228 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Brent – making it the sixth worst hit area in the country.

And 167 people in Harrow are confirmed to have Covid-19, according to the latest Government data.

Dr Tanto said there was “quite a degree of frailty” in the local community, with a high number of patients with heart or lung problems.

He said: “There is certainly going to be increased demand for intensive care beds, so we are in a difficult situation in that respect.”

He added: “Obviously it’s a novel virus – it’s an unusual situation.

“Most of us have never worked in a pandemic before so there’s a degree of learning as we go along.”