THE NHS Covid emergency alert level has been downgraded from four to three as the number of patients in hospital falls.
Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive for the NHS, confirmed the positive news today, as the country continues to bounce back from the second wave.
The emergency alert level for the NHS has been downgradedCredit: Alamy
He said: “We had over 34,000 severely ill Coronavirus patients in our hospitals in mid January.
“That number is now 4,000 and although that is still about 400 more Covid patients than we had this same day a year ago, nevertheless that very sharp decrease in the number of patients with Covid in hospital is a consequence of both declining infection rates across the community and the impact that’s now being felt from the vaccination programme.
“As a result of those much reduced acute pressures on the health service, today I’m recommending that we reduce the national alert level across the health service from level four to level three, and that would take effect today.”
Level 3 means the Covid virus is in general circulation, and level 4 means that transmission is high or rising exponentially.
In the last seven days 2,983 patients have been admitted to hospital in the UK with Covid, with 360 admitted on March 20.
At the time Boris Johnson warned people could be “turned away” from hospitals if the health service is over-run with coronavirus cases.
Today NHS England announced £8.1 billion has been set aside in a plan to recover patient services.
‘MUCH REDUCED PRESSURES’
40 mental health hubs are set to be rolled out to help staff recover and hospitals are being encouraged to recruit more healthcare and medical support workers to ease the burden on existing staff.
Sir Simon said: “More than a year after the NHS treated this country’s first Covid patients hospitals have now treated 390,000 patients critically ill with the virus, including more than 100,000 in January alone.
“But they have also pulled out all the stops to treat millions of people with other conditions, and the whole of NHS is now mobilising to roll out the biggest vaccination campaign in history.
“The NHS made good use of the summer and autumn, when infections and hospitalisations were lower, to restore services and begin tackling the backlog.
“With infections once again now falling, this investment will help nurses, doctors and other staff go further and faster in realising the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan while supporting them as they do so.”
Last month the separate Government Covid alert level was downgraded – as all four chief medical officers made the promising decision to pull the country down from its highest ever alert level, five, to a four.
A Department of Health statement at the time said: “The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.
This is the separate government alert level, which was downgraded last month