NHS response to the Prime Minister’s announcement 31 October 2020

Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement on coronavirus (COVID-19) 31 October 2020, NHS Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis, said:

“Daily hospital COVID admissions are now higher than on 23 March when the Prime Minister announced the first national lockdown.

“NHS doctors and nurses in many areas of England – including Liverpool, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire – are now treating more COVID-19 patients than at the peak of the first wave.

“The NHS has learned a lot since the start of the pandemic and has used the summer to prepare further while also restarting services that were disrupted by the first covid wave.

“We have new life-saving covid treatments such as dexamethasone, trialled and tested here in the NHS.

“We better understand the type of oxygen therapies patients need and the best ways in which to care for them to aid recovery.

“14 day survival rates in intensive care have improved from 72 per cent to 85 per cent since the pandemic began.

“Capital investment is helping hospitals boost their A&E capacity and treat patients safely by separating COVID and non-COVID general and critical care beds.

“We also announced that three of the Nightingales in the North of England are ready to mobilize with Manchester taking its first patients this week.

“However, it takes around a fortnight for today’s infections in the community to result in hospital covid admissions – so what happens over the next two weeks is partly baked in. But the measures announced today will help reduce the number of admissions beyond that, preventing more people contracting this debilitating and sometimes fatal disease for which there is currently no cure or vaccine.

“Across Europe governments are also reporting the increase in demand on their health service as the pandemic’s second wave bites. In Spain, France, Italy and Germany health services are seeing peaks in infection similar or greater to that at the start of the pandemic. Angela Merkel said that: ‘We need to take action now. Our health system can still cope with this challenge today, but at this speed of infections it will reach the limits of its capacity within weeks.’

“Throughout the first wave, care was available to everyone who needed it and the NHS continued to treat thousands of people with and without COVID-19. Doctors, nurses and all NHS staff are determined to do the same throughout this second wave.