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Hospitals forced to divert patients amid Covid pressures

Hospitals forced to divert patients amid Covid pressures

Covid pressure, including staff sickness, is forcing a number of hospitals to divert patients, the last NHS weekly winter report has shown.

England’s hospitals are nearly full up with patients, while staff sickness is the highest since January.

But NHS England insisted that despite this situation, the NHS was making progress in clearing the Covid backlog.

NHS England data up until the 3 April shows:

  • 94% bed occupancy;
  • a number of A&E departments forced to divert patients;
  • ambulances under pressure; and
  • an average of 28,500 staff of sick every day, the highest level for 10 weeks.

The figures are contained in the final of this season’s weekly winter reports on NHS acute trust capacity which began in December.

NHS medical director Stephen Powis said: ‘Today’s figures sum up just how busy NHS staff currently are – alongside increasing numbers of covid and emergency patients and with 94% of beds now occupied, they are also dealing with the highest number of staff off sick due to the virus for 10 weeks – an average of 28,500 staff each day.’

He added: ‘Our frontline staff are working closely together with social care providers to ensure patients leave hospital as soon as they are fit to do so, and hospitals have increased bed numbers and created extra capacity in line with increasing pressure.’

‘Despite the sustained demand, staff are continuing to focus on addressing the Covid-19 backlogs and roll out the NHS spring booster programme,’ he said.

NHS England has previously warned that the Omicron strain was putting the elective recovery plan at risk.

The Office for National Statistics Covid-19 infection survey estimated that in the week ending on the 26 March, one in 13 people were infected with Covid-19.

Free Covid testing for the majority of the population in England ended at the start of this month, although it will continue to be free for the most vulnerable patients and patient-facing NHS staff.

The second Omicron wave has also seen a number of GP practices struggle to maintain services as Covid staff absences forced some to stop non-urgent care.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 7 April, 2022 2:32 pm

This isn’t new. Happens every winter. I feel sorry for those patients that need a hospital. And for those timewasters hogging the seats.

David jenkins 15 April, 2022 1:16 pm

agree with PD above

BUT this is not a winter crisis ! we haven’t really had a tough winter, with endless awful weather and a flu epidemic.

if both landed on us now, there would certainly be big problems.

what we have at the moment has been largely predicted by most GPs working on the front line – this chaotic and haphazard “on the hoof” planning, and a lot of silly ideas from “medical directors” and NHSE have made a bad problem much worse.

if you read the recent BMA candidates statements, you’d see that there are a very large number of militant candidates, and a great number in favour of industrial action. this cannot bode well for the politicians who claim to be running the show.

those “at the top” need to sit down and formulate a sensible plan with those at the front end – instead of trying to boss us about, relying on our goodwill, and get us to do more and more with less and less.

fortunately, i retired in 2007, and now work two days a week as a locum (i’m 72) – so i don’t have to put up with all the shit the politicians are trying to throw at us. but if i was still in full time work, i would very seriously think about packing it in/going part time.

i foresee the solids hitting the air conditioning very soon if our political masters don’t start addressing our concerns !

no good saying they weren’t warned or didn’t know !!