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The NHS is preparing for another wave of Covid admissions but is facing mounting staff absense due to staff having to isolate. However more patients are being discharged who don't need to be in hospital which in some cases hotels are used to accomodate them.

Press release this morning, December 31st

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said:

“We don’t yet know the full scale of rising omicron cases and how this will affect people needing NHS treatment, but having hit a ten month high for the number of patients in hospital with Covid while wrestling with sharply increasing staff absences, we are doing everything possible to free up beds and get people home to their loved ones – and in the last week hundreds more beds were freed up each day compared to the week before.

“On top of the incredible efforts made by staff to get people out of hospital safely, we are also making every possible preparation for the uncertain challenges of omicron, including setting up new Nightingale surge hubs at hospitals across the country and recruiting thousands of nurses and reservists.

“The NHS is on a war footing, and while staff remain braced for the worst, with covid absence for NHS staff almost doubling in the past fortnight, keeping as many colleagues as possible at work on the frontline and minimising absence, will be essential in the next few weeks.

“As staff throw everything at preparing for this next wave, the public can play their part in protecting themselves by getting the first, second and booster jabs, as tens of millions of others already have.”

  • The total number of days lost due to covid staff absence increased by 42% in the week ending 26th December compared to the week before (up from 124,855 to 176,914) while there has been a 96% increase over the last two weeks, meaning Covid related staff absences have nearly doubled over the last two weeks.
  • Overall staff absences increased by 9.2% per day on average from 65,305 to 70,762.
  • On Sunday 26th Dec there were almost 1,300 fewer patients remaining in hospital who no longer met the criteria to reside compared to the same day the previous week (9,288 on 26th Dec down from 10,576 on 19th December).
  • Bed occupancy has decreased with 87% of adult general and acute beds occupied, down from 93% the previous week.
  • The stats are available at: