Flu in Greater Manchester: hospital trust has highest number of in-patients with flu symptoms

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There has been a huge spike in beds occupied

Thousands of beds were occupied by flu patients in England last week, with hundreds receiving critical care treatment, latest health figures show.

In the seven days to 25 December 2022, 3,746 beds were occupied each day on average because of flu, according to data published by NHS England. This is a 79% rise on the week before when 2,088 were in hospital. There were also hundreds of seriously ill flu patients receiving critical care. On average acute trusts were treating 267 people in critical care each day.

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And one health trust in Greater Manchester has the highest number of flu patients than anywhere else in the country. On average there were 185 people each day with flu at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust hospitals - up from 101 the previous week. The trust runs North Manchester General Hospital, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Wythenshawe Hospital, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Saint Mary’s Hospital, University Dental Hospital of Manchester and Withington Community Hospital. It comes in the same week that the trust had the highest number of staff absences than any other in England, though the reasons for staff sickness have not been included in the data.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust had the seventh highest number of flu patients in England in the same period. There were 102 people in hospital each day on average with flu - double that of the week before. Only eight English hospitals had more than 100 patients for the week to 25 December.

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust had 56 flu patients and the Northern Care Alliance trust had 12 flu patients for the week to 25 December, while Tameside & Glossop Integrated Care Trust and Wigan, Wrightington and Warrington trust had no flu patients.

Health chiefs recently warned that this year’s flu season could be more severe than in the years before the pandemic and urged people to stay at home and wear masks if unwell. In December the number of patients in hospital with flu in England “skyrocketed” with admissions overtaking those for Covid earlier in the month.

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Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “Sadly, these latest flu numbers show our fears of a ‘twindemic’ have been realised, with cases up seven-fold in just a month and the continued impact of Covid hitting staff hard, with related absences up almost 50% on the end of November.

“As well as flu, the NHS continues to be under significant pressure, with high bed occupancy, more than 12,000 beds taken up by patients medically fit for discharge, and demand for the 111 service remaining high, so please do make the most of 111 online, and only call 999 or visit A&E in an emergency.

“It is clear this is no time to be complacent and the risk of serious illness is very real, so with nearly 350,000 available vaccination appointments next week it is important that everyone eligible comes forward and gets their Covid and flu jabs at the earliest opportunity.”

  • For advice on booking a flu vaccine, see Manchester city council’s website here. The flu jab is offered free on the NHS to anyone over 50, anyone with with a serious long-term health condition, or pregnant women and young children, but many pharmacies can provide a jab to anyone who wants one for a small charge.

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