Nearly 90% of hospital beds in England are full as hospitals try to cope with the demands of Covid in addition to normal winter pressures.
Ambulances queuing to offload patients, staff sickness and a lack of beds mean hospitals are “at a really dangerous point”, say emergency doctors.
This could result in some trusts facing the decision to stop non-Covid work.
Rises in hospital admissions are particularly affecting areas in the south.
How are hospitals managing?
The percentage of NHS hospital beds which are occupied is increasing and has reached almost 89% in England for the week ending December 13.
This is the highest occupancy rate so far this year – it’s still lower than the same time last year, although the extra burden of Covid is likely to make hospitals feel they are much busier.
A safe level for bed occupancy is below 90% but nearly half of NHS trusts report a figure currently higher than this – the largest proportion this season.
The south and east of England are facing the most pressure on beds.