Patient in a hospital bed being treated by two members of staff

More than one million non-Covid patients treated during winter peak

Despite facing a winter wave of Covid-19 infections, NHS hospitals were still able to care for more than one million non-Covid patients, newly-released figures have shown.

More than 100,000 patients who were seriously ill with the virus and needed hospital treatment were admitted for treatment in January, a third of all those who had been admitted up to that point since the start of the pandemic.

Yet, despite the significant pressures this put on the system, NHS staff were still able to provide non-Covid care to 1.3 million patients in January.

This was compared to around 850,000 patients back in April, during the first peak of Covid-19 infections.

Of those 1.3 million patients treated, elective care - routine operations and other procedures - made up for 961,000 patients, with 350,000 more receiving emergency care for other conditions.

Comparing the first and second peaks during the pandemic, the data showed around 400,000 more people got pre-planned and 70,000 more were admitted for emergency care in January 2021, compared with April 2020.

The more recent winter peak also saw more than double the number of cancer referrals compared to April, with 171,231 patients receiving referrals.

A total of 22,942 patients began treatment, up more than 2,000 on the April Covid-19 peak.

Professor Stephen Powis, the National Medical Director for the NHS in England, said: “Admitting more than 100,000 Covid-19 patients to hospital in a single month inevitably had a knock-on effect on some non-urgent care.

“However, thanks to the hard work of NHS staff and the innovations in treatment and care developed over the course of the pandemic, hospitals treated more than one million people with other conditions in January, at the peak of the winter wave, nearly twice as many as they did last April.

“That is a testament to the skill, dedication and commitment nurses, doctors, therapists and countless other staff showed in the most challenging period in NHS history.”

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