Covid daily hospital admissions drop but Hancock warns of NHS pressure

Ian Jones and Tom Pilgrim, PA
·3-min read

Hospital admissions of people with Covid-19 in England have dropped to the lowest daily figure reported since New Year’s Eve, according to official data.

NHS England said a total of 2,780 admissions of patients with the disease were reported for January 23.

This is the lowest daily figure since December 31, and is down 22% on the equivalent figure a week ago on January 16.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

All regions have recorded a week-on-week decrease in daily admissions, data showed.

The figures cover all patients admitted in the previous 24 hours who were known to have Covid-19, plus any patients diagnosed in hospital with Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours.

But the data comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that the NHS was still under “huge” pressure.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference on Monday, Mr Hancock highlighted that there were 37,000 people in hospital with coronavirus, which he said was “almost twice as many as at the first peak back in April”.

He also noted there are “more people on ventilators than at any time in this whole pandemic”.

“So the pressure on the NHS remains huge,” he added.

At the press conference, Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England, said figures needed to be kept “in proportion” and warned: “We are not out of this by a very long way.”

Speaking in response to a question over when lockdown might be lifted, she said there were three “large” areas that clinical care was “juggling” with.

The first was the rates of infections, particularly among those aged 60 and above.

“We know those are the ones who still are likely to require hospitalisation and intensive care use,” she said.

Dr Harries said the second area was needing to be “patient” about the “understanding” of the implementation of the vaccine programme.

She said the third area was the winter pressures on the NHS.“Alongside all of this, our health service has to deal with the increased rate of clinical admissions due to winter and cold weather,” Dr Harries said.

“So it is not simply a matter of Covid, it is actually a balancing of all of these indicators, alongside the main Covid ones, to ensure that our health services can continue to treat us all.”

According to the latest NHS England figures, the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital in England stood at 32,938 as of 8am on Monday.

This is down 4% on a week ago, and is the third day in a row that the number has fallen week-on-week.

Two regions have seen a week-on-week rise in the number of Covid-19 patients: the Midlands, which has 6,330 patients, up 1%; and north-east England/Yorkshire, which has 3,891, up 3%.

The figures for the other regions are: London 7,014 patients, down 11% week-on-week; south-east England 5,237, down 5%; north-west England 4,122, down 3%; eastern England 4,044, down 5%; and south-west England 2,300, down 3%.