Doctors warned that the surge in Covid hospital cases has put England’s main hospital services in crisis.
NHS data shows that the emergency room is facing more and more hospital admission delays, and it is impossible to admit seriously ill patients to the ward.
At the same time, the number of people facing a year-long waiting for routine treatment is now more than 100 times higher than before the pandemic.
Cancer experts also warn that the destruction of their services is “terrible” and will lead to loss of life.
Reports of hospitals canceling emergency operations continue to emerge-King’s College London has stopped two priority treatments, which need to be completed within 28 days.
The main hospital trust in Birmingham has temporarily stopped most liver transplant operations.
In recent weeks, Covid patients have surged.
One-third of patients in hospitals have the virus-in some places, it accounts for more than half.
“I am strong, but I have collapsed”
Paul, 57, from Manchester, cancelled his cancer radiation therapy in early January.
His tumor-the tumor above the lungs and heart-cannot be operated because it is supplied by two arteries, so doctors can only prevent its growth.
Since 2020, he has been waiting for radiotherapy.
“Will I be one of the thousands of cancer patients because the NHS prioritizes Covid-19 over cancer patients, so will they die before they die?
“I am a strong person, but I have broken down. My family is cheering for me, but I can’t see them.
“Because it is cancer, it is stressful. I just feel anxious all the time.”
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS Medical Director for England, said that the NHS faces “extraordinarily difficult challenges” and services will continue to be under pressure until the virus is contained.
But he emphasized that non-Covid treatments are still taking place-the number of diagnostic tests and operations performed is three times that of the spring when the pandemic first occurred.
How is the service affected?
Data released by NHS England shows the extent to which interaction with Covid has affected key hospital services.
The data released on Thursday showed:
- Nearly 90,000 patients (a quarter) admitted through A&E waited more than four hours to find a bed
- Including a record 3745 people who waited for more than 12 hours
- Routine treatment including knee and hip surgery has a record 4.46 million people on the waiting list
- More than 192,000 people have been waiting for more than a year-before the pandemic started in February, that number was 1,600
- Since November, after the rise in Covid cases forced hospitals to increase the number of intensive care beds by a quarter, they had to redeploy personnel to intensive care.
Cancer numbers can be traced back to November, before the surge in cases.
At that time, the number of emergency cancer checks and treatments started was at a normal level.
But since then, people have begun to worry that services will be reduced.
Professor Pat Price, who caught up with the cancer movement, said that the service is facing the “biggest crisis” of her 30-year career.
She added: “This is indeed a terrible situation.”
The Royal College of Surgeons warned that the epidemic had a “catastrophic impact” on waiting times for planned operations.
Sarah Scobie from the Nuffield Trust think tank said that the service was under “unbearable pressure” and added that “the worst moment has yet to come.”
Saffron Cordery of the NHS provider representing the hospital owner agreed: “There is no doubt that the next few weeks will be the most tested in NHS history.”