NHS weekly winter operational update for the week ending 29 January 2023

Responding to the NHS performance figures published today, NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said: “While there have been continued improvements in ambulance handovers and there are now fewer flu patients in hospital compared to the peak last month, today’s figures show that NHS staff remain under significant pressure.

“Last week saw more people being taken to A&E by ambulance than the week before, bed occupancy is still constrained and the number of people remaining in hospital who no longer need to be there has increased to almost 14,000 (13,983), while illnesses like flu and norovirus remain a real concern.

“The NHS prepared extensively for winter, with 24/7 control centres and respiratory hubs in place and we will now build on those plans with our new blueprint for urgent and emergency care.

“Published this week, it will boost capacity, help improve waiting times and ultimately, provide a better experience for patients across the country.

“NHS staff are working incredibly hard to continue to provide the best care for our patients in the face of continued demand, and we are incredibly grateful for their efforts over this winter, which we know has been particularly challenging.

“As ever, people should come forward for the care they need – using 999 and A&E in an emergency and NHS 111 Online otherwise. And there is still time to get protected against viruses like flu and covid if eligible – so please do get vaccinated when you can.”


  • Today’s figures show in the period 23 to 29 January 2023 the number of ambulances transporting patients to A&E increased to 78,431 from 77,937 the previous week.
  • The number of hours lost to ambulance handover delays fell to 8,899 from 10,170.
  • The number of NHS111 calls answered increased to 331,206 from 316,394.
  • The number of patients who no longer need to be in hospitals increased to 13,983 from 13,566.
  • Bed occupancy remains high at 93.8% last week, in line with the levels reported the previous week.
  • Compared to the previous week, the number of flu patients reduced to 1,203 from 1,893 in general and acute beds, the fall was from 141 to 87 in critical care beds. This was down from a peak of 5,441 patients in hospital with flu (across both general and acute and critical care beds) in the week ending 1 January 2023.
  • The number of patients in hospital with diarrhoea and vomiting/norovirus symptoms increased from 371 to 393, the comparison to the same week last year was 316.