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NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said:

“The NHS is on a war footing and staff are taking the fight to omicron, by boosting hundreds of thousands of people each day, treating thousands of seriously ill covid patients and delivering urgent care for other conditions, all while seeing a worrying, high and rising increase in absence due to covid.

“We are once again ramping up to deal with the rise in covid infections, and quite rightly staff are making every possible preparation for the uncertain challenges of omicron, including recruiting thousands of nurses and reservists, but while we’ll leave no stone unturned to get the NHS battle ready, it remains the case that the best way to protect yourself and others is to follow guidance and to come forward and get your first, second and booster jabs.”


  • The total number of days lost due to covid staff absence increased by 38% in the week ending 19th December compared to the week before. Up from 90,277 to 124,855.
  • While the number of total staff absences increased by 10% from 416,995 to 457,135.
  • On average each day, 10,693 beds were taken up by patients who were fit to be discharged last week – 184 more beds each than the week before when 10,509 beds were taken up each day.
  • Bed occupancy remains high with 93% of adult general and acute beds occupied.
  • The stats are available at: