Responding to the latest urgency and emergency care weekly update, Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, said:
“These figures demonstrate both the NHS’s incredible resilience, as it works to increase capacity and maintain the ability to care for patients, and the extraordinary pressure under which it finds itself.
“On top of the continuing strain caused by surging COVID-19 infections, normal winter pressures are rearing their ugly head too – beds closed because of D&V and norovirus have increased more than eightfold this week.
“The NHS has worked extremely hard to expand its adult critical care capacity this winter, with more than 1,000 more critical care beds opened to respond to rapidly rising demand so far, but the health service cannot continue to run this hot.
“Our members are having to redeploy hundreds of doctors to work in intensive care, and are having to postpone elective surgery. With more patients in critical care, more and more staff absent because of COVID-19, and infection control measures making the job of NHS staff more difficult, the picture is very, very worrying.
“The vaccination programme brings hope for the health service and the UK, but this will take time, and will of course require yet more staff time and capacity. In the meantime, we must all abide by lockdown restrictions and do our bit to curb the spread of COVID-19, to help try and alleviate some of this pressure.”