Swine flu bed pressure on hospitals revealed

Swine flu cases led to a 20-fold increase in bed days taken up by flu this year, with increases greatest among patients of working age, NHS Information Centre figures show.

Increase in the number of hospital beds needed reveals effect of swine flu
Increase in the number of hospital beds needed reveals effect of swine flu

In July, 3,796 days were taken up by patients with flu, compared with 207 in the same period last year.

In May and June bed days taken up by flu cases were 26% and 118% higher than in the same months last year.

The biggest change in use was seen for adults of working aged (17-59 years). This group represented 46% of bed days taken up by patients with flu this year, compared with 19% last year.

NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said the figures revealed the rapid increase in the demands on hospitals as a result of flu virus in July this year. ‘The peak in bed days taken up by flu in July 2009 is especially interesting as this is outside the normal flu season,' he said.

He added: ‘We will continue to monitor demand for beds to help the NHS gain a better understanding of the pressures caused by the current flu outbreak.'

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