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Staff absences owing to Covid in NHS England have decreased by 22% in the last week, indicating that the health service's staffing issue may be resolving. In the week ending January 16, there were more than 35,000 Covid absences on an average day, down from almost 46,000 the week before. The percentages, however, are still much higher than the levels of absence reported prior to the Omicron spike. On an average day in early December, there were roughly 12,000 absences. Absences for all reasons, including Covid, have decreased by 13% to 77,000 across the NHS. "Even though the numbers are going in the correct direction," NHS England national medical director Prof Stephen Powis stated. NHS employees will face many challenging months as they continue to provide patient care while juggling competing expectations. While staff absences are still high and increasing in some parts of the country, it is encouraging to observe that they are decreasing week by week. "The number of individuals in hospital for both Covid and non-Covid care remained high, and ambulance arrivals at A&E surged by more than 2,000, even as the nation is boosted and people are protected against the virus by the largest and fastest vaccination effort in NHS history."

 

Separately, data released on Sunday showed that the overall number of critical care beds in England was at 3,040 on Sunday, down from the pre-Covid five-year average and much less than the 4,834 beds needed in the same period in 2021. The number of Covid patients in hospitals has dropped further in recent days, according to government data covering the entire United Kingdom. The statistic slipped below 19,000 on Tuesday after reaching a post-Omicron high of 19,930 on 10 January. In the week leading up to Tuesday, 19,375 patients were treated in UK hospitals, the highest amount since February 2021. As the year 2022 begins, we'd want you to consider making a new year's resolution. We'd like to encourage you to join the more than 1.5 million people in 180 countries who have pledged financial support to keep us open to everyone while being fiercely independent. With a slew of elections (France, Brazil, and the United States, to name a few), economic pressure points, the next phase of the pandemic, the looming climate crises, and the first 'winter World Cup,' the year is already shaping up to be frenetic. Furthermore, independent media faces a critical year, with autocrats around the world pulling back press freedoms and shuttering publications, making free, reliable facts exception rather than just the rule. We are adamant about fighting back. We determine our own agenda and provide trustworthy journalism free of commercial and political interference to readers in practically every region of the world since we have no shareholders, rich owners, or rogue despots to worry about. Our journalism is free for everyone, everywhere, so that readers may access it regardless of their financial situation. While others want to commodify knowledge, we seek to democratise it, giving a crucial perspective for millions whose own press has been suppressed by dictators. 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/commentisfree 

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