Cases of flu and norovirus are continuing to put pressure on A&E departments.
The number of bed closures due to norovirus or diarrhoea and vomiting rose to an average of 841 per day last week, up from 817 in the seven days before.
Weekly figures from NHS England also reveal 13,300 patients waited more than 30 minutes to be seen after arriving at A&E by ambulance, and of those 2,900 waited for longer than an hour.
This was an increase from the week ending February 11, when around 10,800 people waited more than half-an-hour and 2,200 more than an hour.
Cases of flu (stock image) and norovirus are continuing to put pressure on A&E departments across Britain
A spokesman for NHS England said the number of new flu cases is gradually declining, but flu hospitalisations ‘continue to plateau at a high rate’.
Flu patients currently occupy 2,500 beds, which is more than the peak levels of flu over the past six years. The spokesman added: ‘This is further compounded by a rise in beds lost to norovirus.
The combined effect is that February A&E performance continues to be pressurised.’
The figures come after NHS Improvement’s quarterly report, released on Wednesday, revealed that A&E departments also dealt with record numbers of patients between October and December, with 5.6million people visiting across the period – a quarter of a million more than the same time last year.
A spokesman for NHS England said the number of new flu cases is gradually declining (stock image)
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: ‘As we enter the eighth week of severe and unrelenting pressure, flu rates are still high, with thousands of extra beds required with the staff to care for them and major delays in ambulance handovers.’
He said there are more than 26,000 registered nurse vacancies in acute hospitals and added: ‘This is a marker of the sheer strain people are under and it is unsustainable.’
The most recent Public Health England figures show there were 19 flu-related deaths in the week ending February 11, bringing the total this winter to 241.