2022-11-24 16:09:50

NHS faces perfect winter storm with 10 times more hospital flu cases than last year

Logo The Guardian
The Guardian
By Andrew Gregory

The NHS is facing a perfect winter storm with 10 times more people in hospital with flu than this time last year, and ambulances experiencing deadly delays when arriving at A&E with sick patients.

There was an average of 344 patients a day in hospitals in England with flu last week, more than 10 times the number at the beginning of last December.

And as many as three in 10 patients arriving at hospitals by ambulance are waiting at least 30 minutes to be handed over to A&E teams. Health chiefs say the crisis is leading to deaths.

About 22,883 delays of half an hour or longer were recorded across all hospital trusts in the week to 20 November, figures show. That represents 29% of the 79,076 arrivals by ambulance. The proportion rose as high as 23% during winter 2021/22.

The figures on flu and ambulance delays were published by NHS England on Thursday and offered the first weekly snapshot of how hospitals are performing this season.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents the healthcare system in England, said: These figures really hammer home just how stretched services already are as we head into a perfect winter storm. Significantly higher numbers of people are in hospital because of flu compared to this time last year, coupled with the fact that Covid-19 has not gone away.

Continue read on theguardian.com

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