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ICU Occupancy in English Hospitals No Higher Than Last Year

The BBC are repeatedly running scare stories about NHS hospitals being overrun. These stories, often lead on the six o'clock news, are really unedited press releases from NHS England. The BBC don't bother to investigate these claims, they merely take the copy and read it out aloud.

We are supposed to believe that NHS hospitals are on the brink of collapse due to the surge in Coronavirus patients. We are supposed to accept this as undeniable fact, and millions do. But this isn't the fact. The facts, never reported by the mainstream media only anecdotes, tell a very different story.

If you look at ICU occupancy in NHS hospitals across England on December 20th it was lower than the December average in 2019 in most of the country – and it’s worth remembering that the 2019-20 flu season was unusually mild.

Admittedly, the total number of ICU beds occupied in London on Dec 20th was quite a bit higher than the average for December 2019, but according to the ZOE app daily symptomatic cases in London are falling. The ZOE data in the graph below shows rising and falling daily symptomatic cases up to December 27th.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that there are more ICU beds this year than last year, so if you calculate the percentage of ICU beds occupied in NHS hospitals across England and compare that to the average percentage in December 2019 the picture looks even less bleak. In every region, including London, the percentage of ICU beds occupied at the moment is lower than it was this time last year.

Here is the breakdown of figures:

East: Dec 2019 average: 76.3% - Dec 20th 2020: 74.0%

London: Dec 2019 average: 88.7% - Dec 20th 2020: 86.3%

Midlands: Dec 2019 average: 82.2%. - Dec 20th 2020: 67.0%

North East and Yorkshire: Dec 2019 average: 78.4% - Dec 20th 2020: 69.8%

North West: Dec 2019 average: 82.6% - Dec 20th 2020: 68.7%

South East: Dec 2019 average: 83.7% - Dec 20th 2020: 75.4%

South West: Dec 2019 average: 79.5% - Dec 20th 2020: 73.3%

If they the NHS is under stress then the assumption that it is Coronavirus is going to be very difficult to shift, for many in the NHS Coronavirus is causing the worse case of the Baader-Meinhof Effect we've ever seen. The reason for the crisis, if indeed there is one – probably lies elsewhere. A combination of higher-than-average staff absences, and poor management, confirmation bias, cash incentives for crisis management and, lets not forget, an NHS and civil service imbued with Marxist ideologies are going to stick it to the government at every opportunity.

A letter from NHS chiefs sent to the chief executives of all NHS trust and foundation trusts on December 23rd contained this alarming paragraph:

"With COVID-19 inpatient numbers rising in almost all parts of the country, and the new risk presented by the variant strain of the virus, you should continue to plan on the basis that we will remain in a level 4 incident for at least the rest of this financial year and NHS trusts should continue to safely mobilise all of their available surge capacity over the coming weeks. This should include maximising use of the independent sector, providing mutual aid, making use of specialist hospitals and hubs to protect urgent cancer and elective activity and planning for use of funded additional facilities such as the Nightingale hospitals, Seacole services and other community capacity. Timely and safe discharge should be prioritised, including making full use of hospices. Support for staff over this period will need to remain at the heart of our response, particularly as flexible redeployment may again be required."

This fails to explain these completely empty hospitals that, not only are not in the midst of a pandemic, but are, for all intents and purposes, not in the middle of anything. empty A&Es; empty Intensive Care wards. Why aren't the BBC investigating these?

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