Ahead of the release of figures showing case rates rose in nine out of 10 areas in England in the week up to 23 December, Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, told the BBC: “We’re seeing a real rise in the pressure for hospital services, but also other types of NHS services as well … ambulance trusts in particular are coming under extreme pressure, as are community and mental health services”.
An NHS chief has warned hospital services are experiencing a “rise in pressure” from Covid patients, as the country’s leading psychiatrist issued a plea for funding to cope with the pandemic’s “profound” and long-term effect on mental health.
Paramedics in London are receiving almost 8,000 call-outs daily as the number of coronavirus patients in UK hospitals neared the April peak, and Boxing Day was described as one of London Ambulance Service’s “busiest ever days”.
Ms Cordery was speaking ahead of a warning from the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists that the pandemic poses the greatest threat to mental health in the UK since the Second World War.
Dr Adrian James told The Guardian the pandemic will have “a profound effect on mental health” and funding will be required to deal with the “long-term consequences” of the virus.
In Switzerland, hundreds of British holidaymakers who were meant to be self-isolating at a ski resort reportedly broke quarantine this week.
Many stayed in quarantine for just one day before leaving undetected in the dark, with some later reporting back to their hotels from France, according to Swiss newspaperTages Anzeiger.
Meanwhile, the leader of the firm behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine said he believed researchers had found the “winning formula” to improve the jab’s efficacy.
AstraZeneca chief Pascal Soriot said the firm would publish results, amid reports that the UK’s medicines regulator could approve the jab before Thursday.
More than ten thousand medics and volunteers have been recruited by the NHS to help administer the jab once it has been approved.