More NHS ‘critical incidents’ have been declared at hospitals due to “extreme and unprecedented” staff shortages during the growing Omicron surge.
NHS Providers said “a number” of trusts have declared in the last few days that they are delivering “compromised care” due to the crisis.
It comes after the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) said it was “unable to maintain safe staffing levels” in an internal alert leaked on Sunday night.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson tweeted: “A number of trusts across the country have declared internal critical incidents over the last few days.
“One has received particular media attention overnight. But there are others… A trust will declare a critical incident if it believes it might not be able to provide range of critical / priority services it needs to.”
He said London – which is 10 days ahead of other parts of the country in the Omicron surge – had started to see Covid hospitalisations level off.
Increase in daily Covid hospitalisations in the capital has dropped from 15% on December 28 to 2% on January 2.
Mr Hopson added: “We must keep very close eye on London. Vital to see what effect New Year celebrations/schools return will have on infection rates.
“Definite worry that hospitalisations could rise again if infection rates rise again. Govt must be ready to move fast on restrictions if needed.”
The focus now is on whether the NHS can cope with an influx of patients who caught the virus over the past week when infections surged to unprecedented levels and who will be requiring hospital treatment in the week ahead.
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Some non-urgent operations are already being cancelled but there is speculation NHS could be forced to issue a nationwide instruction to axe elective treatments over the coming weeks.
Some 13,151 hospital beds were occupied by Covid patients in England yesterday(Sun), up from 12,615 a day earlier and almost double the 7,536 a week earlier.
The number of hospital patients testing positive for Covid in the last week is up 75% nationally.
However in the North East and Yorkshire the rise was 119%, in the North West 108%, 76% in the East of England, 75% in the Midlands, 70% in the South East, 54% in London and 37% in the South West.
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Concluding a Twitter thread summing up the state of the NHS on Monday, Mr Hopson posted: “Rest of country now under pressure.
“Some trusts declaring critical incidents to manage staff absences. Recent London data, fact that London/NHS currently ‘coping’ & absence of large nos. of seriously ill offer grounds for optimism. But future still uncertain.”