Dozens of acute trusts have operated at very high levels of bed occupancy in the past month, as they deal with a surge in non-covid patients with thousands fewer beds than normal.
At one point in May, 49 general acute trusts out of 145 — the most since before covid — operated at occupancy of 95 per cent or more in adult acute beds. Up to eight trusts at a time were operating at 99 or 100% occupancy during May, according to analysis of published data.
NHS England, prior to covid, told trusts to keep occupancy below 92%, and others believe even this is dangerously high, although trusts do often exceed it during winter.
Trusts are seeing the largest numbers of non-covid emergency patients since at least winter 2019-20; and are also trying to return as many planned operations as possible.
They are doing so with thousands fewer beds than normal, due to measures to deal with ongoing covid patients without further outbreaks of the virus in hospital.
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Source: HSJ, 8 June 2021