Just four out of 223 NHS trusts in England are busier than last year
Only four out of the 223 National Health Service (NHS) trusts in England are busier now than last year despite coronavirus, according to an analysis of official data.
While Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove claimed over the weekend that Britain’s socialised healthcare system would be “physically overwhelmed”, an analysis of the data revealed that just four NHS trusts are busier today than last year.
Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust (FT), University College London Hospitals FT, Calderdale and Huddersfield FT, and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh FT are the only NHS trusts found to be busier than last December.
The report also found that just 87 per cent of available hospital beds were occupied during the third week of November, with 77,942 out of 88,903 beds full. During the week ending on December 8 in 2019, hospital bed occupancy was recorded at 94.9 per cent, when 91,733 the 96,675 available beds were occupied.
The numbers also do not reflect the extra capacity provided to the NHS from private hospitals or the Nightingale field hospitals that were constructed during the early days of the pandemic which added thousands of more beds, meaning that excess capacity is still available should cases increase.
A consultant oncologist and professor of medicine at the University of Buckingham, Dr Karol Sikora said that the government was running a “brainwashing PR campaign”, saying they were using “data that doesn’t stack up”.
“What the data shows is that hospitals are not working at full capacity and they’ve still got some spare beds for Covid if necessary. The public is being misled, the data doesn’t stack up. Fear and scaremongering is being used to keep people out of hospital,” he said.
Dr Sikora concluded by saying that the only way out of the current “mess” is for politicians to be honest with the public about their decision-making process.
Professor Carl Heneghan of Oxford University concurred that the the “data doesn’t add up”, stressing how he believes that it is “imperative” that elected officials make decisions on the basis of being informed.
“It is now clear they [ministers] should have in front of them a combined information package that combines case data with NHS data and they should be provided that weekly in digestible format so it can inform their decisions,” Heneghan said.