Rocky road ahead for NHS as COVID-19 patients total up 34% in a week

08 July 2022

Commenting on the latest weekly updates from the Office for National Statistics and the UK Health Security Agency, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:

"COVID-19 hasn't gone away and the NHS is in a very challenging place again.

"When COVID-19 infection rates in the community rise – one in 25 of us is estimated to be positive at the last count – so does the number of people who end up in hospital. We would encourage people to take sensible precautions such as wearing masks where requested.

"With 11,500 new patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in the seven days to 5 July, up 34% on the week before, and slightly more people on ventilators it means that pressure on beds and staff is mounting again.

"The road ahead will be rocky if overstretched NHS staff and services, already working flat out to bring down waiting lists and facing a range of other pressures, have to deal with more and more COVID-19 cases added to the threat of an early wave of flu and a heatwave next week which will affect many people's health.

"And at a time when our politicians have crunch decisions to make on big issues for the NHS – such as the rollout of more COVID-19 booster jabs, how we continue to manage and 'live with' the virus, and a pay rise for staff – the uncertain political backdrop is unsettling.

"It's shaping up to be a very challenging summer, autumn and winter for an under-pressure NHS. Trust leaders are doing all they can to plan and prepare for difficult days ahead."