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Norovirus spike closes more than 800 hospital beds

There was also a 3.6% rise in calls to NHS 111 last week.

A spike in cases of norovirus has seen more than 800 hospital beds closed per day last week, latest official figures show.

NHS England also said 10,800 patients had to wait more than 30 minutes to be seen after arriving at accident and emergency departments by ambulance, with more than 2,200 of these having to wait more than an hour.

There were 30 instances where ambulance had to divert to other A&E units, compared with 36 diverts in the previous week.

Its latest figures also show a rise in the number of calls to NHS 111, with 335,900 calls in the week ending February 11 – 3.6% more than in the previous week and 18.3% up on the 284,000 calls in the equivalent week last year.

Norovirus and flu outbreaks have been putting extra strain on services during the colder months, with 215 confirmed flu-deaths so far this winter.

NHS England said norovirus had led to a rise in the number of bed closures from an average of 640 beds to 817 beds closed per day last week.

Bed occupancy levels were at 95%.85.3

An NHS England spokesman said: “Despite a spike in norovirus cases, latest monthly figures show that social care-related Delayed Transfers of Care (DTOCs) are at their lowest in two years, and NHS-related DTOCs are at their lowest in four years, thereby successfully freeing up 2,000 beds across the NHS for patients needing admission.”

Figures released last week showed that just 85.3% of patients were seen at accident-and-emergency departments within the waiting-time target of four hours in January – the second-worst month on record.

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