Health Business 22.02

A change in weather brings no change in pressures

For the last few weeks the strain on hospitals across the country has become more pronounced, with calls for government assistance growing.

During the first week of April, at least 20 NHS Accident and Emergency departments in England issued diverts, with patients taken elsewhere. Those still admitting patients have witnessed long delays, with more than a quarter of ambulances waiting at least 30 minutes to handover patients.

NHS bosses in West Yorkshire and the south central area of England - covering Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire and Berkshire - have reported particularly severe strain.

More than 20,000 patients are now in hospital with Covid (or who have Covid but are in hospital for other reasons). Alongside high staff absences, the NHS Confederation says that this continues to pose huge operational challenges for the NHS and is harming efforts to reduce waiting times in other areas.

As the NHS Confederation’s chief executive, Matthew Taylor, said this week: ‘The brutal reality for staff and patients is that this Easter in the NHS is as bad as any winter’.

Michael Lyons, editor