The National Health Service is close to the edge of being overwhelmed in many parts of Britain and pressure is only going to increase as winter approaches, the head of a healthcare system body said on Wednesday.
“I talk to health leaders every day, and I have literally not spoken to any leader who doesn’t say that their service is under intense pressure now. This is the middle of October. Things are only going to get worse,” Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation told BBC Radio, calling for COVID-19 measures such as mask-wearing and working from home.
“The health service is right at the edge… if you push much further we will not be able to provide the level of service that people need to have.”
Britain on Tuesday reported 223 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for COVID-19, the highest figure since March, according to official data.
At the same time, a subvariant of Delta that is growing in England is being monitored but is not likely to change the COVID-19 picture, Oxford Vaccine Group chief Andrew Pollard has said.
The subvariant, designated as AY.4.2 in Britain, is growing and accounted for about 6% of all sequences generated, the UK Health Security Agency said last week, but it has not been labelled as “under investigation” or a “variant of concern”.
“Discovery of new variants is of course important to monitor, but it doesn’t indicate that that new variant is going to be the next one to replace Delta,” Pollard told BBC radio.
“Indeed even if it does, Delta is incredibly good at transmitting in a vaccinated population and a new one may be a bit better but it’s unlikely to change the picture dramatically from where we are today.”