Commenting on weekly NHS winter pressures data published this morning showing the time lost to ambulance handover delays reduced by over a third week-on-week.
NHS national medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said: “Thanks to hardworking frontline staff and extra capacity including beds and virtual wards rolled out this winter, time lost to ambulance handover delays reduced by over a third in the last week.
“But these latest figures remain a stark reminder of the elevated pressures the NHS is seeing this winter, with nearly 1,500 cases of flu and norovirus in hospital last week – significantly higher than last year – as well as other seasonal illnesses impacting demand for beds.
“The NHS prepared extensively for winter, including more call handlers, more beds and 24/7 system control centres to manage increased demand, and we will now build on that progress with our plan to help recover urgent and emergency services.
“Patients should continue to seek help when they need it, including using 111 online for minor illnesses or calling 999 in a life-threatening emergency.”