Fall in number of Covid patients at Suffolk and north Essex hospitals

Ipswich, Colchester and West Suffolk hospitals are treating 178 Covid patients between them

Ipswich, Colchester and West Suffolk hospitals are treating 178 Covid patients between them - Credit: Archant

Hospitals in Suffolk and north Essex are treating fewer patients with coronavirus than last week.

Figures released by the government for January 18 revealed there were 178 Covid patients between East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) and West Suffolk Hospital.

This was a decrease of about 8% from January 11's total of 194 patients being treated throughout the region.

ESNEFT, which includes Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, has seen a fall in Covid patient numbers from 121 to 92 in the space of a week.

But West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, has seen a rise from 73 patients to 86 within the same timeframe.

The hospital stood down from its "critical internal incident", which was declared after hundreds of staff were forced off sick, last Friday.

Visiting restrictions are still in place at both ESNEFT and West Suffolk Hospital due to high case rates of Covid throughout Suffolk and north Essex.

It comes as the number of NHS staff at hospital trusts in England off work due to Covid has dropped week on week across the country.

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Some 29,517 NHS staff at hospital trusts in England were ill with coronavirus or had to self-isolate on January 16, down 26% from 40,031 the previous week.

But this is still more than double the 12,508 at the start of December, according to NHS England data.

NHS England national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said that despite the drop, staff will face many "tough months" ahead.

NHS England's national medical director Professor Stephen Powis has warned of the pressures ahead

NHS England's national medical director Professor Stephen Powis has warned of the pressures ahead - Credit: PA

He said: "Even though the numbers are going in the right direction, NHS staff will have many tough months ahead as they continue to deliver patient care while managing competing demands.

"While staff absences remain high and continue to increase in some parts of the country, it is good to see they have been reducing week on week.

"Despite everything they have to manage, hardworking staff continue to provide routine care to patients, including rising numbers of routine checks, and they are determined to do more, so the public can help us by coming forward for care when they need it and getting their life saving Covid-19 jabs."