1. Covid-19 statistics update
After a peak in December, Covid-19 cases, hospital admissions and deaths have begun to decline in January 2023. We are though likely to see further waves of infection later in the year.
2. Covid-19 vaccine boosters
Uptake of Covid-19 boosters has plateaued at a lower level than we hoped for. In England, around 64.4% of people aged 50 and over have received a booster in the current campaign. In Lambeth, only 40% of people aged 50 and over have received a Covid-19 booster, well below the national average. Pleas encourage patients to attend for a booster if they are eligible.
3. Covid-19 treatments
Some people at highest risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 are eligible for antiviral treatments on the NHS. These include some patients with cancer, blood conditions, kidney disease, liver disease and autoimmune conditions, among others. GP reception staff must arrange an appointment with the clinical team if a patient calls and says they are eligible for these treatments, have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not been contacted about treatment.
My view is that the NHS England treatment pathway is flawed. Asking patients to contact their general practice delays the start of treatment and adds to GP workload. Patients should have been asked to contact their local CMDU directly if they have not been contacted about treatment after a positive Covid-19 test. Any failure by the local CMDU to contact a patient should be seen as an SEA.
The latest UKHSA report shows that influenza admissions in London have started to fall from their peak in February. See recent Evening Standard article. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-past-peak-flu-wave-nhs-azeem-majeed-b1053535.html
We were expecting a larger flu wave in the Winter of 2022-23 because of the greater social missing this winter and the low levels of flu over the previous 2 years.
5. NHS pressures
The NHS in England has experienced exceptionally high pressures in recent weeks, leading to the Prime Minister holding an emergency NHS summit on Saturday 7 January. We await the outcome of the summit. Strike action is adding to NHS pressures. We need to consider a team how we can support our patients and manage workload.