– Advertisement –
A health chief has warned that the NHS is in the grip of a flu and Covid “twindemic”, as the number of hospital patients in England rose by 79 per cent in the past week.
According to NHS England, an average of 3,746 people were in hospital with flu in the seven days to 25 December, a week-on-week increase of 2,088.
The number was just 772 at the beginning of the month.
The sharp increase has been in both general hospital and critical care beds — those for the sickest patients.
The average number of critical care patients with flu rose from 149 in the seven days leading up to December 18 to 267 in the week leading up to Christmas Day.
At this point in 2021, only 34 patients were in the hospital with the flu, only two of whom were in critical care.
Meanwhile, staff absences due to Covid-19 in hospital trusts in England have risen by 47 per cent in a month, from an average of 5,448 in the seven days to 8,029 in the week to 27 November.
The total number of sick workers reported rose 20 percent to 63,296 per day last week from 52,556 at the end of November.
Saffron Cowdery, interim chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “It is very worrying to see flu admissions rising so rapidly, along with so many other pressures, contributing to unacceptably high bed occupancy rates that undermine the ability to ensure safe high-quality care.” make it very difficult to do.
“Increased employee sickness is another concern, compounding severe workforce shortages.
“This is having an impact on care through systems including ambulances, hospital A&E, mental health and community services.
“Staff are working in very difficult conditions to minimize disruption to patients.
“The concern is that as these pressures build, with the potential impact of industrial action, we could see further delays into the new year.”
Professor Sir Stephen Powis, the national medical director of NHS England, urged those eligible to get vaccinated against flu and Covid.
He said: “Sadly, these latest flu figures show that our fears of a ‘twindemic’ have been realised, with a sevenfold increase in cases in just one month and the continuing impact of Covid on staff , the corresponding absenteeism is about 50 percent.At the end of November.
“As well as flu, the NHS remains under immense pressure, with high bed occupancy, more than 12,000 beds taken up by patients medically fit for discharge, and demand for the 111 service remains high, so please Make the most of 111 online, and only call 999 or visit A&E in an emergency.
“It is clear that this is no time for complacency and the risk of serious illness is very real, so with almost 350,000 vaccination appointments available next week it is vital that everyone eligible comes forward and gets their Covid and flu vaccines as soon as possible . ,