The number of Covid-19 patients being treated in North East hospitals has hit a record high in January, we can reveal.
Until this month, the highest daily figure for bed occupancy by patients confirmed to have coronavirus was on April 9 last year at the start of the pandemic when the figure reached 778.
However, that number was exceeded on January 11 when it reached 817.
It continued its upward trend until it hit 862 on January 18 and again on January 19, the most up-to-date official figure at the time of writing, which represents an increase on April 9 of just over 10%.
According to the official statistics, on both dates the most number of Covid patients were being treated at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust hospitals where the figure is up around 10% on last year to 234.
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck, said: “I have friends and family who work in the NHS and they are struggling, they are on their knees because of the pressure they are under and it shows no sign of ending.
“At the outset people were hopeful it wouldn’t be as bad this. It should be made plain this is the fault of Boris Johnson and his Cabinet because of the poor decisions they have made.
“They lost control of it from the outset and once you lose control of something you can’t get it back.”
The biggest rise is seen at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust where the number of patients being treated on January 19 compared to April 9 was up 66% from 134 to 223.
There has also been a 30% increase in Covid patients being treated at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – 125 last April compared to 163 this month.
The difference at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one patient less, while there has been a bigger fall 30% in Gateshead from 124 to 86.
Finally, in the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust area there was a 67% difference in patient numbers in its hospitals although from a smaller starting point – 40 on April 9, 2020 and 13 on January 19.
As we approach the first anniversary on January 30 of the first Covid death in the UK, it is a grim reminder if any were needed of the fact that the pandemic is far from over.
NHS Trust; Covid bed occupancy April 9, 2020; Covid bed occupancy January 19, 2021.
South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust; 211; 234
Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; 144; 143
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust; 124; 86;
County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust; 134; 223
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; 125; 163
Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust; 40; 13
TOTAL April 9, 2020; January 19, 2021