Elective care resumes but hospitals remain under huge pressure

Elective care has resumed at most hospitals across England, NHS officials say, despite continuing high pressure on the acute sector in the final week of January.

NHS hospital (Photo: iStock)
NHS hospital (Photo: iStock)

The latest update on winter pressures from NHS England shows that around 95% of beds across hospitals in the country were full in the week to 28 January for the third week running - well above the 85% target.

A total of 11,061 patients arriving at hospital by ambulance faced handover delays of more than half an hour upon arrival, a figure marginally up from the previous week. Delays of more than an hour were slightly down from the previous week, at 2,143.

Data on numbers of flu cases seen by GPs over the past week are due later on Thursday, but NHS England says levels of both flu and norovirus remain 'raised'.

Winter pressure

An NHS England spokesman said: 'Raised levels of flu and norovirus cases continued to put pressure on busy hospitals and other frontline services last week.  And while the NHS is generally coping with ongoing winter demands, the public can continue to play their part by using NHS 111 and pharmacists for advice.'

NHS 111 is also under high pressure, taking 328,400 calls in the week to 28 January - 13.6% up on the same week in 2017.

GP leaders have warned repeatedly that GP practices have been struggling to cope this winter with seasonal demand on top of existing pressures, and an additional surge in appointments from patients whose elective care in hospitals has been delayed.

Although an NHS England spokesman told GPonline that the elective care freeze had now been lifted, hospitals still experiencing extremely heavy workload that do not wish to lift restrictions on non-urgent care can appeal to local NHS leaders for permission to keep them in place.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

What do plans for 50% contributions mean for your NHS pension?

What do plans for 50% contributions mean for your NHS pension?

The government is planning to consult on a proposal that would allow GPs to reduce...

50:50 pension option 'will fail' says BMA as government consults on proposal

50:50 pension option 'will fail' says BMA as government consults on proposal

The BMA has said that a plan to allow doctors to halve their pension contributions...

GPs urged to be vigilant year-round as fraud cases rock practices

GPs urged to be vigilant year-round as fraud cases rock practices

GP partners should ensure they are on top of their practice finances throughout the...

Digital-first approach in underdoctored areas risks short changing patients

Digital-first approach in underdoctored areas risks short changing patients

Plans to tackle GP shortages by allowing digital-first providers to expand in underdoctored...

GP Job of the Week: Lead GP, urgent care centre, east London

GP Job of the Week: Lead GP, urgent care centre, east London

Greenbrook Healthcare is looking to appoint a lead GP to its clinical leadership...

NHS England says it will avoid top-down approach to PCNs

NHS England says it will avoid top-down approach to PCNs

NHS England will not issue national guidance to primary care networks (PCNs) about...