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A month of lockdown failed to subdue the second wave of coronavirus in the past week, as clearly shown in new local data analysed by HSJ.

Thirty-six hospital trusts saw covid-19 admissions grow by more than a fifth in that period, of which more than half have at least 10 per cent of beds occupied by covid patients.

At an all-England level, covid-19 admissions and occupied beds started falling around mid November, but since the beginning of December have started rising again.

HSJ analysed new local data from NHS England yesterday, to reveal which areas are causing the resurgence of the second wave. The figures cover admissions up to 6 December (Sunday), and covid-19 occupied beds up to 8 December (Tuesday).

Of the 126 general acute trusts, 36 saw the number of patients admitted with covid-19, or newly diagnosed in hospital, increase by 20 per cent or more on the previous week. Read Dave West’s story for the full data.

Private stopgap lined up

NHS England has contracted with independent sector providers on a block-contract basis since the start of the pandemic, but this was due to change this month with the launch of a new four-year framework deal, under which local organisations would commission elective work from a nationally approved list of providers.

However, Spire Healthcare has now confirmed it is “in advanced discussions” with NHSE to deliver “a volume-based commitment” for three months from the start of 2021. It said this would provide a “smooth transition” to the framework deal.

In a statement, the £980m-turnover company said: “Spire Healthcare, along with other independent providers, at the request of NHS England, is in advanced discussions to provide a volume-based commitment to help manage NHS waiting lists when the existing contract ends.

“This new contract is expected to have a definitive end date of 31 March 2021 and aims to provide a smooth transition for NHS services from the current cost-based contract to the new NHS framework…”

HSJ understands one of those other providers involved in the talks is Circle Health, which operates BMI Healthcare.

Read the full story here.