A&E visits 50 per cent higher in December than April COVID peak
Half a million more people sought help in England’s A&Es in December compared with the first peak of the pandemic in April, according to new data from the NHS, which show essential services were being maintained at the end of the year.
Median waits for elective care also fell, down to 10.4 weeks in November from 11.1 weeks the month before.
There were 125,151 more referrals in November compared to April and over 25,000 people began treatment in just one month.
Alongside non-COVID care, the NHS also confirmed nearly a quarter of a million COVID-positive patients have received care in England’s hospitals.
With figures showing that there are around 13,000 more people in hospital with COVID-19 today than at the peak of the virus in April, the NHS medical director has warned that latest data on hospital performance are “a stark reminder” of the danger of COVID-19 and the extreme pressure on NHS services, which mean everybody needs to follow national guidance.
Cancer treatment and referrals are back to usual levels, with more than 25,000 starting treatment in November and more than 200,000 people referred for checks with more being seen within two weeks in November, compared to the previous month.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, yesterday said:
“Despite 2020 being the year of COVID, nearly 20 million people received emergency care in England’s A&Es, while in November alone as COVID-19 was spreading more rapidly, patients still benefitted from four million important elective treatments and essential checks on the NHS.
“And actually, hardworking staff have ensured that the waiting list is lower than it was at the same point last year with the average waiting time for treatment, improving comparing to the previous month.
“Despite there being almost 23,000 people with COVID in England’s hospitals at end December – 20 per cent higher than the April peak – nonetheless it’s important that 50 per cent more people still came forward for urgent care in our A&Es, twice as many elective treatments were delivered and around three times as many diagnostic checks were carried out, showing that essential non-COVID care was being maintained even as the virus began to get out of control.
“The NHS has cared for nearly a quarter of a million COVID-positive patients already, who collectively spent more than two million nights in hospital, while also keeping emergency care running.
“NHS 111 has remained a safe and important way for people to get care as the pandemic took hold again at the end of last year and despite this pressure, performance of NHS advice of the phone actually improved, with a greater proportion of people getting their call answered more quickly and getting a call back faster.
“These figures are a stark reminder that the NHS is facing an exceptionally tough challenge, and that while still millions of people are getting care for non-COVID health problems in the NHS in England – indeed for every COVID patient in hospital, the NHS is treating three people for other conditions – there is no doubt that services will continue to be under additional pressure until and unless this virus is under control, which is why it’s so important that everyone practises social distancing and follows national guidance.”
Latest News from
NHS gives women Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV) home testing kits to cut cancer deaths24/02/2021 15:05:00
More than 31,000 women will be offered kits to carry out smear tests in the privacy and convenience of their own homes in a trial, NHS England has announced.
NHS expands mental health support for staff after toughest year in health service history23/02/2021 09:15:00
The NHS is supporting staff who have pushed their minds and bodies to the limit over the last year to look after their mental health, as 40 dedicated support hubs are set to open across the country.
“Full steam ahead” for NHS vaccination programme as two-thirds of 65-69 year olds already vaccinated22/02/2021 16:15:00
Over two thirds of people aged between 65 and 69 have now had their first COVID vaccination, after invites went out a week ago, with people aged 64 also set to be called forward this week, NHS England has announced.
GP determined to put in personal call to every at-risk patient yet to take up COVID-19 jab offer22/02/2021 11:15:00
A London-based GP is taking the fight against vaccine hesitancy into her own hands by phoning every patient from her surgery who has been offered but not yet accepted their jab, as part of the NHS’ battle against vaccine hesitancy.
NHS Chief Praises Staff As Covid Jabs Campaign Starts New Phase16/02/2021 09:15:00
The head of the NHS yesterday praised staff as the NHS vaccination programme enters a new phase, with people aged 65 and over together with an expanded group of clinically vulnerable people now receiving the life-saving Covid jab.
NHS offers COVID jab to clinically vulnerable and people 65 to 6915/02/2021 14:15:00
NHS staff will begin vaccinating people aged 65 to 69 and those who are clinically vulnerable against COVID from today (Monday) with over one million people already invited to book a jab.
Hospitals admit one third of COVID patients in a single month11/02/2021 15:25:00
Almost one third of all patients who have needed hospital treatment for COVID since the pandemic began were admitted last month.
Elton John and Michael Caine help the NHS promote COVID jabs11/02/2021 11:15:00
Sir Elton John and Sir Michael Caine have joined forces in a new video to encourage people to get vaccinated against coronavirus.