The rates of flu symptoms are in keeping with what we would expect during a winter flu season. However, the rate of flu vaccinations is slightly down compared to rates in the past couple of years.
The NHS emergency and urgent care provided by ambulance and acute hospital trusts across England last week continued to cope well with the pressures winter brings.
Seasonal flu vaccine rates in people eligible to receive it on the NHS
An estimated 68.4% of patients aged 65 years or older and 42.9% of patients aged under 65 in risk groups had received seasonal flu vaccine by the week ending 19 December 2010 in England. This is slightly lower than at a similar stage in previous seasons.
People with flu-like illnesses
Estimates suggest that flu-like activity – that is, the number of people with flu-like symptoms seeing their GP – has increased but remains within the normal range expected during a winter flu season.
More detailed information on flu-like activity can be found in the Health Protection Agency’s weekly National Influenza Report
*Trend compared with previous year’s uptake.
**Trend compared to previous week.
|Under 5||5–15||16–64||65 + over||Total|
The number of severely ill patients, mostly adults, with confirmed or suspected flu in critical care has continued rising.
As at 23 December 2010 there were 460 patients with confirmed or suspected influenza in NHS critical care beds in England – 13.6 % of available critical care beds nationally.
NHS emergency and urgent care data
Ambulance calls which were responded to within 8 minutes (category A) and Ambulance calls which were responded to within 19 minutes (category B)
Overall for England, in this week, 61.8% of Category A calls were responded to in 8 minutes, and 79.3% of category B calls were responded to within 19 minutes. This compares to 65.1% for Category A calls and 83.4% for Category B calls in the previous week. The lower percentages are likely to be due to the continuing adverse weather conditions.
Urgent and emergency ambulance journeys
In response to these calls, there were 102,700 urgent and emergency journeys, the same as the previous week. Ambulance trusts report that handover to hospital staff was completed in 78.6% of cases within 15 minutes of arrival.
An A&E divert is an agreed temporary diversion of some patients from one hospital to other A&E Departments to provide temporary respite. A divert is only undertaken as part of the local health systems’ planned and managed escalation when a hospital is under pressure. The number of diverts has decreased compared with the previous week.
There were no closures during week ending 19 December 2010.
A&E attendances and emergency admissions
In the week ending Sunday 19 December 2010 there were 401,300 A&E attendances and 97,100 emergency admissions. For A&E attendances this was 1.8% lower than the previous week and for emergency admissions, this was 5.1% lower, after adjusting for missing data this week.
Beds closed due to Norovirus
We have again seen an increase in the number of beds in hospitals closed to admissions due to infection control procedures being triggered by patients having diarrhoea and vomiting, or norovirus like symptoms. On 9 December 2010 the Health Protection Agency issued a press release warning that it had recorded an increase in norovirus cases. It stated that although people can suffer from norovirus at any time of year, activity increases in the winter months. Advice about norovirus
Number of beds unavailable due to delayed transfers of care from hospital
The number of people awaiting discharge for non-medical reasons has shown a decrease.
|Indicator||Measure||Week ending 12 Dec 2010||Week ending 19 Dec 2010|
|Ambulance calls which were responded to within 8 minutes (category A)||% of calls responded to within 8 minutes||65.1%||61.8%|
|Ambulance calls which were responded to within 19 minutes (category B)||% of calls responded to within 19 minutes||83.4%||79.3%|
|Urgent and Emergency Ambulance journeys||Total number of journeys||102669||102694|
|Delays of over 15 minutes between ambulance arrival at A&E and handover to A&E staff||Total number of delays during the week||26468||21931|
|A&E diverts||Total number of diversions during the week||46||19|
|A&E closures||Total number of closures during the week||1||0|
|A&E attendances*||Total number of attendances during the week||410478||401328|
|Emergency admissions*||Total number of admissions during the week||103178||97141|
|Number of beds closed due to diarrhoea and vomiting or norovirus like symptoms||Average number of beds closed per day||1322||1415|
|Number of beds unavailable due to delayed transfers of care from hospital||Average number of beds unavailable per day||2752||2705|
Detailed definitions and information on ambulance indicators and A&E attendance
* Figure excludes University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust for week ending 19 December
This page contains management data which has been collected on a rapid turn-round basis from the NHS. The speed of the collection only permits minimal validation to be undertaken but the data is considered “fit for purpose”.