Responding to the latest ONS Covid infection survey Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said:
“Covid hospitalisations are rising, and this is something which is of real concern to NHS leaders who are once again grappling with the fact that more people are needing care and treatment for coronavirus both in hospital and in the community.
“Cases going up also means that staff sickness and absences are increasing at a time when the NHS is already plagued by chronic staff shortages and carrying 105,000 vacancies.
“As the health service works to make continuing inroads into the elective care backlog with 6.5m patients now awaiting treatment, we need an honest and realistic conversation about what the public can expect from the NHS especially during Covid waves that disrupt its services.
“As we look ahead and prepare for a very difficult winter where high levels of flu and an autumn surge of Covid are now very likely, we must acknowledge that the NHS is already strained, under-staffed and under-pressure.”