Hospitals in the north, midlands and west are now seeing rapid increases in covid patients, while there is an easing for some in the south and east.

HSJ’s analysis of NHS data shows some trusts in the south and east still have rapidly growing numbers, but that these are mostly situated away from the north London, Kent and Essex areas where the third wave of the pandemic began.

Most trusts seeing the fastest growth are now outside the south east. This may in part be because of the growing numbers of patients being diverted to hospitals away from the systems under the most pressure (see heat maps below). However, the areas with the fastest growing case-rates over the past week or so are also in the north, midlands and west. Many areas within these regions were not subject to “tier 4” restrictions before Christmas which banned household mixing.

The following trusts all have at least 20 per cent of beds occupied by covid-positive patients, and have seen the number of covid patients grow at least 5 per cent a day over the past week.

TrustAreaCovid patients in general and acute bedsDaily growth of covid patients in general and acute beds over past weekCurrent confirmed covid patients, as a per cent of all general and acute beds (covid occupancy)
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust West Midlands 283 5.9% 46%
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust South East 160 5.5% 45%
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust North West 238 7.4% 38%
James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust East 144 5.7% 35%
University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust South West 323 6.1% 32%
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust South West 119 7.3% 30%
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust South East 204 7.0% 28%
Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust South East 225 5.6% 28%
Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust North West 403 7.6% 27%
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust South 242 6.9% 24%
St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust North West 147 6.9% 22%
York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Yorkshire 153 5.3% 21%
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust North West 111 5.2% 20%
Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust South West 104 6.8% 20%

In the latest figures there are 51 general acute trusts (41 per cent) with covid occupancy of 33 per cent or more — up from 45 three days ago. There are eight with 50 per cent or more — down from 10 — with Lewisham and Greenwich having eased a little in recent days.

These findings are based on HSJ’s analysis of NHS internal figures up to 14 January. It covers adult general and acute beds only — not intensive care, where covid pressure is also very high, and still growing quickly in London and the south and east.

G&A beds make up the core of the hospital bedbase, and NHS England is publishing weekly figures on them, but there are different ways of measuring occupancy, and hospitals’ own operational figures often suggests their covid occupancy is higher than reported here.

Hospitals dealing with covid occupancy of more than 33 per cent are highly likely to be under serious operational pressure. However, this analysis cannot take full account of factors like cancelling elective care, the way beds are counted and reported, or the concentration of covid pressure at particular hospitals within multi-site trusts. Nor does it reflect the number of non-covid patients a trust is treating. Changes to the total number of beds at each trust (both occupied and unoccupied), means the share of total beds occupied can fall in past weeks, compared to previous analyses.    

Download heatmap PDFs: Trusts and STPs

Trust heatmap


Health system (sustainability and transformation partnership) heatmap