Massive leap in hospital admissions despite a 'mild' Pandemic

The NHS faced a sevenfold increase in people admitted for flu last year (2009) it has revealed with 33,376 bed days taken up by people against only 4,163 in 2008.

The rise was worst in the last quarter of the year with some 20,744 hospitalised between October and December compared to 1,585 in the same quarter of 2008.

This means the number of bed days was 12.5 times higher in 2009 than in 2008.

Swine flu was of course the primary driver affecting younger age groups than would usually be expected in 2009 than those normally affected by seasonal flu.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "A higher level of influenza activity would be expected during a swine flu pandemic and the NHS was ready to cope with the increase in demand."

The lessons learned from those in the hotspots of the West Midlands and South London are being shared and work is under to further develop the Business Continuity of the NHS with a specific BS25999 based approach having been developed.  

Over the past 9 months the Continuity Forum has worked with a number of PCT and Regional Health Authorities to encourage better preparation of Social Care arrangements that in our experience showed significant weakness across the country.