NHS struggling with rising Covid-19 numbers as tier review looms

· 3 min read

On Monday, record numbers of Covid-19 cases were recorded across the UK, with 41,385 new cases and a further 357 deaths reported.

On Monday, record numbers of Covid-19 cases were recorded across the UK, with 41,385 new cases and a further 357 deaths reported.

It is also currently reported there are 20,426 people now being treated for Covid-19 in hospitals. The previous peak in April saw 19,000 people in hospitals. 

There is a possibility that case numbers in April were, in fact, higher, but the limited testing systems in place were not comprehensive or far-reaching enough to record the numbers accurately. 

The medical director for Public Health England, Dr Yvonne Doyle, told the BBC, "This very high level of infection is of growing concern at a time when our hospitals are at their most vulnerable, with new admissions rising in many regions."

She added that "despite unprecedented levels of infection, there is hope on the horizon," with the new vaccines becoming more available. 

Dr Katherine Henderson said, "The chances are that we will cope, but we cope at a cost - the cost is not doing what we had hoped, which is being able to keep non-Covid activities going."

Over the Christmas period, The South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), said they had experienced three times the number of calls to 111. In their operational areas of Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire, they also experienced a 60-70% increase in the number of absent staff due to them displaying coronavirus symptoms, thus needing to self-isolate. 

The BBC also reported one hospital in London published figures that showed ambulance crews were waiting for up to six hours to admit people to hospital for treatment. 

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People are being urged to comply with the restrictions in place in their area. Michael Gove maintains the current tiering system is the "right strategy" to combat the virus's spread while acknowledging that there are "difficult months ahead" for the NHS and health care workers. 

A review of the tiering system will take place tomorrow. Although nothing is confirmed, there is speculation over a possible 5th tier to be implemented in the worst affected areas. At the same time, it seems almost certain more regions will enter higher tiers. 

The government has not announced a 5th tier. The speculation comes as several scientific advisors and health care professionals have said the restrictions in place under tier 4 are not enough to stop the spread of the virus.

Zara Tunnicliffe
Zara Tunnicliffe
Zara joined Age Times in 2020 and is an expert in all things food and drink, travel and lifestyle.