Viruses including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and winter vomiting virus are putting additional pressure on the NHS in England in the first week of winter while waiting lists reached another all-time high in October.
With 7.2 million patients awaiting treatment, the Health The foundation’s charity said health and care systems were “paralyzed” and put the safety and quality of patient care at risk.
the National Health Service says it is seeing “the post-pandemic impact of virus circulation again”, with data showing another jump in the number of beds required for flu patients last week, up 49% from the previous seven days.
A total of 772 general and critical care beds were occupied by flu patients in the week to December 4 compared to just 34 beds in the first week of December 2021, a 22-fold increase.
Norovirus cases are also on the rise – nearly 90% higher than the same time last year according to NHS England, while the number of unavailable pediatric beds due to RSV is five times higher than in the same week of the year past, averaging 132 per day compared to 22 in the same period of 2021.
Elsewhere, the number of people awaiting NHS treatment in England has reached another record, topping 7.2 million for the first time. More than 410,000 patients were waiting more than a year for treatment in November.
Almost half of patients attending acute trusts in England waited for more than four hours in November, the worst on record. In November 2010, 95.8% of people were attended in four hours or less; last month the figure stood at 54.5%.
One in seven ambulance patients still waited more than an hour to be seen at A&E, and one in three waited more than 30 minutes. A total of 11,296 patients waited with ambulance crews for an hour or more before being seen, a slight improvement on the previous week.
The NHS’s national clinical director of urgent and emergency care, Professor Julian Redhead, said the service was “dealing with a perfect storm of pressures this winter”.
He said existing pressures were exacerbated by flu hospitalizations, record numbers of patients requiring urgent care andongoing problems with social care, meaning the NHS cannot discharge medically fit patients.
comes as a report of the House of Lords adult social care committee found that “adult social care as a whole has been invisible, misunderstood and often neglected by policymakers, the public and the media”, and recommended increased funding to provide a “sustainable” system of care.
Tim Gardner, senior fellow for policy at the Health Foundation, said the NHS figures and Lords’ report showed “a paralyzed health and care system struggling to meet the needs of patients, even before the force of the crisis begins.” winter and planned industrial action. .
“A fully funded long-term plan is required to address the crisis in social care, address labor shortages and reform a system that is not fit for purpose.”
Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: “Behind the statistics are people suffering, sometimes for months or even years, putting their lives on hold because of their pain and discomfort.”
The Liberal Democrats’ health spokeswoman, Daisy Cooper, said the figures were “damning” and reflected the NHS “on its knees”, with the blame “entirely on this Conservative government”.
“Every day we hear horror stories of patients dying while waiting for help to arrive or to be admitted to hospital. The public is left asking: how did it come to this?