The number of flu patients in English hospitals is skyrocketing

NHS England National Medical Director Stephen Powis arrives at the BBC Broadcasting House in London, to appear on BBC One’s current affairs program on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg (PA) (PA Wire)

The number of hospitalized flu patients in England has ‘skyrocketed’ while Strep A drives ‘near record’ demand for NHS 111 services, new data suggests.

According to NHS England, an average of 1,939 people with the flu were hospitalized each day last week, up 67% from 1,162 the previous week.

It is also a sharp increase from the daily average of 482 at the end of November.

There has also been an increase in the number of flu patients in intensive care beds in England, with the daily average standing at 149 last week, up 72% from 87 the previous week.

At the equivalent point last year, the NHS had just two flu patients a day in intensive care and 32 in general beds.

Separate data shows there were 721,301 calls to NHS 111 services last week, compared to 706,129 the previous week.

NHS England said it was “near-record” and “significantly” higher than usual demand for this time of year, up almost 60% from 452,644 calls of the equivalent week in 2021.

This increase in demand is believed to be partly due to parents concerned about Strep A symptoms.

NHS England national medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis has urged those who are eligible to get flu and Covid shots.

He added: “In addition to the impact of the industrial action last week, it is clear that the NHS faces enormous pressure before Christmas with the number of flu cases in hospital and intensive care increasing. week-to-week, in addition to significant increases in staff sickness rates and near-record demand for services like 111.

“Despite this, NHS staff are continuing to provide a significant supply to patients – handling near record calls to 111 and continuing to make progress on Covid-19 backlogs.

“With more industrial action planned for next week, there will be disruption, but we urge the public to continue to use services wisely by continuing to call 999 for life-threatening emergencies, to use 111 in line for other medical conditions and to take reasonable steps to keep yourself and others safe.

“The NHS has largely prepared for winter with more beds, additional call handlers as well as the expansion of fall response services, control centers and respiratory centres, but with the he flu hospitalizations and Covid cases increase, the best things you can do to protect yourself is to get vaccinated if you are eligible.

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