We’re publishing another guest post by our in-house doctor, formerly a senior NHS panjandrum, this one looking at the latest hospital data. Turns out, staff absences are the reason London hospitals are under pressure, not a surge in Covid admissions due to the Omicron variant.
How quickly things change. The Daily Sceptic has asked me to provide a brief update on the unfolding situation after the Christmas weekend. Less than two weeks ago at the Downing Street press conference, Professor Chris Whitty said “by the time we get to Christmas I expect the majority of people going to hospital to be Omicron cases”. In response to a journalist’s question about Omicron, he said: “This is a really serious threat. How big we don’t know but everything we do know is bad.”
So, how bad is it?
Hospital admissions are rising, but not necessarily due to Omicron, according to Chris Hopson, the CEO of NHS providers.
Talking to chief executives this morning, the sense is that admissions are rising but not precipitately so. What’s particularly interesting is how many chief executives are talking about the number of asymptomatic patients being admitted to hospital for other reasons and then testing positive for Covid.
Trusts are not, at the moment, reporting large numbers of patients with Covid type respiratory problems needing critical care or massively increased use of oxygen, both of which we saw in January’s Delta variant peak.