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Crisis deepens amid relentless pressures and high numbers of staff absences

7 January 2022

The latest Urgent and Emergency Care Daily Situation Reports 2021-22 for week ending 2 January 2022 show:

  • There was a total of 562,062 instances of staff absences
  • 249,173 instances of staff absences were covid related, an increase of 41% on the previous week
    • Nearly half of instances of staff absences were covid related
    • Since the start of December there has been an increase of 198% in covid-related instances of absence
  • On average 16,906 patients resided in hospital who no longer fit the criteria and were ready to be discharged, of these, on average, 9,858 remained in hospital
    • This is equal to almost six in 10 patients who were ready to be discharged remaining in hospital
  • Nearly one quarter of ambulance arrivals were delayed by 30 minutes or more
    • Almost one in 10 ambulance arrivals were delayed by at least an hour

Dr Katherine Henderson, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:

“The scale of the pressures facing the health service is highlighted in these figures. Instances of covid-related absence have tripled since the beginning of December. Now the army has been deployed to assist the health service in London.

“Ambulances continue to be delayed in handing over patients on arrival putting patient safety at risk, while high numbers of patients ready to be discharged remain in hospital due to the ongoing social care crisis. Promoting flow through the hospital is vital but rests upon timely discharge of patients back home once their treatment is complete. To ensure this social care must be resourced and supported, this will help reduce admissions and free up beds in hospital.

“It is a perilous situation, and an enormous strain is put upon staff working in hospitals, who continue, as ever, to go above and beyond to ensure care continues to be delivered and patients are kept safe.”


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