The number of NHS trusts across the country declaring a critical incident has now reached 13, as the health service struggles to cope with the high levels of COVID-19, flu and scarlet fever currently circulating. There are now fears that the NHS is facing even greater pressure than it did at the height of the pandemic.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has advised parents to keep their children out of school if they have a fever or any infectious symptoms as the Christmas holidays come to an end this week.
They said that levels of disease in the community are “high” and “likely” to keep rising.
The full list of trusts who have declared critical incidents are South Western Ambulance Service, North East Ambulance Service, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust, Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, University Hospitals of the North Midlands NHS Trust, The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and NHS Sussex.
Health chiefs have also suggested that unwell adults should wear a mask if they go out in public.
Doctors have said the situation is “much worse” than throughout the whole of the pandemic, with the Government being accused of allowing patients to die by failing to intervene in the crisis.
Delays in care are said to be causing the deaths of as many as 500 patients every week with the future of the NHS “on a knife edge”.
Professor Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at UKHSA, said adults should “try to stay home when unwell” and “wear a face covering” if they do have to leave the house.
Brits have also been told to avoid any healthcare setting unless it is absolutely “urgent”.
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According to the latest figures, only 48 percent of children eligible for the vaccine had received it by November.
Professor Hopkins said: “Flu vaccination is still available for all eligible groups and is the best protection against the virus.
“We have seen good uptake in older age groups but vaccination among young children remains low.
“Flu can be very unpleasant and in some cases can lead to more serious illness.
“Getting your child vaccinated protects them and others they come into contact with, and it’s still not too late.”