Extraordinary NHS pressure set to worsen warns England’s top doctor

Commenting on this morning’s updated weekly sitrep figures, NHS national medical director, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, said: “NHS staff continue to face extraordinary pressure, with over 13,000 beds being taken up by patients who no longer need to be in hospital every day last week and more than 19 out of 20 adult beds occupied.

“Norovirus and flu cases have continued to put strain on services with hundreds of patients in hospital beds across the country, and a further 7,556 in hospital with Covid, while our NHS 111 service received over 440,000 calls last week alone.

“But there is no doubt that next week will be even more challenging for NHS services, with the pressures caused by a bank holiday weekend combined with four days of industrial action – where, for 96 hours, hospitals will be without up to half of the medical workforce.

“To help the NHS limit disruption as much as we can through what will be an extremely challenging week, please continue to use services by calling 999 in life-threatening emergencies only, and using 111 for other urgent health conditions.

“Some pharmacies, GP practices and dentists may be closed for the long weekend, so it is also important to plan ahead to ensure you can get the help you need and are able to enjoy this Easter period.”


In the week ending 02 April 2023:

  • The occupancy rate for adult general and acute beds was 95.3%.
  • The total number of general and acute beds open was 100,953, up from 97,592 the same week last year (w/e 03 April 2022).
  • An average of 13,174 people each day who no longer met the criteria to reside were not discharged.
  • There were 7,556 patients with Covid in hospital as of 02 April.
  • The number of adult beds taken up by patients with norovirus symptoms was 370. Last year the same figure was 188.
  • There were 274 beds occupied by patients with flu last week, of which 238 were in general and acute beds and 36 in adult critical care beds. The week before (w/e 26 March), there were 43 flu patients in critical care.
  • A total of 79,693 patients were taken to A&E by ambulance.
  • There were 20,920 hours lost to ambulance handover delay.