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NHS National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis said: “While it is positive to see more NHS staff back at work, pressure on the NHS is still intense, having seen the busiest week for ambulances taking patients to A&E since the start of December – up almost 2,000 on the week before last – all while pushing to deliver as many routine checks and procedures as possible, including vital diagnostic checks.
“Our staff have already had what feels like a long winter, but despite everything they have had to contend with, they continue to step up as they always do; answering thousands more 111 calls last week than the seven days before, continuing to care for thousands of covid patients and maintaining non-COVID procedures, and working closely with colleagues in social care to get people out of hospital safely.
“The public can help us by coming forward for their lifesaving COVID vaccines, and as has been the case throughout the pandemic, if you have a health problem, please go to 111 online and call 999 when it is a life threatening condition – the NHS is here for you”.
Pressure in hospitals remains high, with 93% of adult general and acute beds occupied over last week, and paediatric general and acute beds seeing an almost 3 percentage point increase in occupancy the previous week to this past week.
There were 85,467 arrivals at A&E via ambulance in the week ending 23 January 2022 – an increase of almost 2,000 on the previous week and the busiest week since the start of December.
NHS staff absences remain high with more than 72,000 staff absent due to sickness each day last week on average, up 13,605 a day compared to at the start of December.