Almost a third of all hospital admissions for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic took place last month, according to NHS England data.
In 2020, hospitals treated nearly a quarter of a million patients with confirmed cases of Covid-19. But in the first month of this year alone, hospitals admitted over 100,000 patients with Covid-19.
The figures from NHS hospital admission data highlight the enormous pressure the NHS has suffered so far this year due to the UK’s third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
In critical care, hospitals have also seen a sharp increase in patient numbers. On 10 February 2020, there were 3,019 adult critical care beds occupied across the country, compared to 3,160 people with Covid in intensive care for the same day this year.
Despite the extra strain put on hospital services, the NHS is providing high levels of care in other areas, NHS England national medical director Professor Stephen Powis claimed.
He said: ‘NHS staff have worked extremely hard to provide essential services for those patients who need them.
‘Even in January, when hospitals admitted almost a third of all the Covid patients they have treated during the pandemic, they treated twice as many patients with other conditions as they did for those with the virus over the month.’
The NHS completed more than six million elective treatments in 2020 despite the pandemic and average waiting times for non-urgent surgery fell by more than 40% between July and the end of the year.
Professor Powis said: ‘While the world’s attention has rightly been on Covid, NHS staff have worked extremely hard to provide essential services for those patients who need them.’
January 2021 saw the UK reach 100,000 deaths from Covid-19 and according to data released earlier this year from the Office of National Statistics, six out of 10 of the deaths have been those of disabled people.
This comes as hospitals have been releasing Covid patients early due to the extra pressure.
Care leaders told Nursing in Practice earlier this month people with learning disabilities must be urgently prioritised to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.