NHS in London ‘likely to be overwhelmed’ by early January, says leaked report

HSJ has seen a leaked report that says hospitals and the ambulance service in London are ‘likely to become overwhelmed due to rising covid demand in the next 2-3 weeks’.

HSJ has seen an internal document from NHS England London, dated 20th December which said: “NHS services in London are again facing significant operational pressure as a result of the current surge in covid-19 cases from the new variant of concern, omicron. Through recent modelling, it is predicted that the London Ambulance Service (LAS), Emergency Departments (EDs) and the General and Acute (G&A) bed base are likely to become overwhelmed due to rising covid demand in the next 2-3 weeks.”

It continued: “These services, along with Primary and Community care, are under exceptional pressure given the increased ask being placed on covid vaccination capacity, and all being compounded by the impact of infection control social distancing measures and increasing Winter demand from other Long Term Conditions (LTC) such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).”

The document also revealed parts of the service in the capital would struggle to deliver virtual wards, a key component of the NHS’ response to the omicron wave.

The news comes two days after the mayor of London declared a major incident in the capital, the first time he has done so since January this year, near the height of the winter 2020-2021 wave.

Full story in the HSJ, 20 December 2021