HSJ’s daily update of what our sources are telling us about the progress of the pandemic

With many parts of the NHS facing a period of the most extreme operational pressure they have ever known, Daily Insight will bring you an update on the latest developments and concerns from those leading the efforts.

There is little doubt now that the third wave of the covid pandemic is beginning to recede in every part of the country.  

But there is little sign of respite from the intense pressure it has created.The situation in the South may not be the horror show it was earlier in the month, but one very senior source told HSJ yesterday that demand on intensive care in London is not expected to return to “normal” until the end of March – and the capital is the region where demand is falling fastest.

Elsewhere in the country, we can see from this HSJ analysis that there are no parts of the nation which are not feeling the pinch – and will continue to do so for some time.

The sheer weight of patients is part of the problem, of course, as we can see from the latest data on covid infections acquired in hospitals. It is very hard to ensure effective infection prevention and control, when wards are packed and when some of those wards were, until very recently, theatres, offices or, as in one trust HSJ has heard of, a gym.

Thank heaven then for a vaccination programme that continues to motor away. One of its few flaws was resolved this week with the decision to collect the ethnicity of those vaccinated. The story of why the data wasn’t collected from the start and how the change came about is just one of the subjects addressed in this week’s HSJ podcast.

One of the reasons why it is so important to have a firm grip on the take-up of the vaccine across different vaccine groups is graphically illustrated by the experience at Guy’s and St Thomas’… and finally, mark 5pm on 17 March as ‘busy’ in your electronic diary now, because Sir Lenny Henry is to host virtual HSJ Awards. Anyone who saw his barnstorming performance at the awards a few years ago will know what a treat is in store.