LONDON: Hospital admissions of people with Covid-19 and the number of patients in hospital with the virus are starting to fall in all regions of England, analysis shows.
The number of patients waiting more than an hour to be handed over from ambulance teams to A&E staff has also dropped to its lowest level since the start of the year.
The figures suggest tighter restrictions on people’s movements and activities introduced across England after Christmas, culminating in the nationwide lockdown from January 5, are starting to have an impact.
A total of 2,648 hospital admissions of people with Covid-19 in England were reported for January 25, according to figures from NHS England. This is down 29 per cent on the equivalent figure for a week earlier, and is the lowest since December 31.
All regions are now recording week-on-week decreases in daily admissions, according to analysis by the PA news agency, including a drop of 35 per cent in the Midlands and 32 per cent in London. The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital has also fallen week-on-week in all regions.
London has seen the biggest drop, with 6,272 patients at 8am on January 27, down 17 per cent on the previous week. South-east and south-west England have both seen an 11 per cent week-on-week fall, to 4,811 and 2,094 patients respectively.
The Midlands and eastern England are both down 6 per cent, with 5,940 and 3,811 respectively. In north-east England/Yorkshire the number is down 4 per cent to 3,654, and in north-west England it is down 1 per cent to 4,264.
For England as a whole, the number of Covid-19 patients stood at 30,846 on January 27, down 9 per cent on the previous week and the lowest number since January 10.
Separate figures from NHS England show the number of patients waiting longer than an hour to be handed over from ambulance teams to A&E staff at hospitals in England fell last week to its lowest level since the start of the year.
A total of 3,283 delays of more than 60 minutes were recorded across all acute trusts in the seven days to January 24. This compares with 3,333 in the previous week, and 5,513 in the seven days to January 10, which was the highest weekly figure so far this winter.
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust reported the highest number last week for an individual trust (289 delays of more than 60 minutes), followed by Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust (155) and University Hospitals Bristol & Weston NHS Foundation Trust (132). A handover delay does not always mean a patient has waited in the ambulance. They may have been moved into an A&E department, but staff were not available to complete the handover.
While overall numbers for handover delays and patient admissions have fallen, some hospitals are continuing to experience pressure on the number of patients in critical care.
Around one in eight major hospital trusts in England had no spare adult critical care beds last week, PA analysis shows.
Some 18 out of 140 acute trusts reported 100 per cent occupancy of all “open” beds each day from January 18 to 24.
These included University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest trusts in England, along with Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, also in the West Midlands. The figure is up slightly on 15 acute trusts from January 11 to 17.