COVID-19: Admissions to Hospital – Update

May 1, 2020

Carl Heneghan, Jason Oke

The daily Cabinet Office coronavirus briefings, publish Hospital Acute Trusts data in England from major emergency departments that provide a consultant-led 24-hour service (a type 1 A&E).

The graphs are interactive (place your cursor on the points to reveal the data)

Daily COVID Admissions in England over time

Relative Change in COVID Admissions over time

When the number of admissions is high, as in early April,  the relative effects give rise to large absolute changes in admissions (see the next figure). As the number of admissions decreases the relative effect has less of an impact.

Sustained changes in admissions over time are, therefore, required to see the trends as opposed to daily changes which are less reliable as a measure.

Absolute Change in COVID Admissions over time

Definitions have changed over time. Previous definitions were: *COVID daily confirmed on admission, and COVID -19 confirmed on admission

COVID daily admissions diagnosed within 24 hours (see slide set 30th April and slide set 5th May).

It is therefore not clear whether ‘admission’ means admitted to hospital with COVID, admitted and diagnosed with COVID while in a hospital. or infected with COVID while an inpatient.

Critical Care Bed Occupancy across the UK

Includes both Nightingale hospitals and Dragon’s Heart/Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig field hospital

For Wales ventilator and critical care beds are identical.

For Scotland, mechanical ventilator beds and critical care beds are identical (figures include a small number of patients who are not on mechanical ventilation).

For England, the denominator is the number of beds capable of delivering mechanical ventilation.

For Northern Ireland, the denominator is the number of beds capable of delivering mechanical ventilation, based on its current maximum surge capacity.

People in Hospital in England

(Source: NHSE, Welsh Government, Scotland Government, Northern Ireland Executive)
(Data are for NHS Hospital Acute Trusts with a type 1 A&E in England)
(Fluctuations in the North West have been driven by data validation changes and missing trusts returning data (creating artificial spikes in reporting).)

Carl Heneghan is Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and Director of Studies for the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme. (Full bio and disclosure statement here)

Jason Oke is a Senior Statistician at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and Module Coordinator for Statistical Computing with R and Stata (EBHC Med Stats), and Introduction to Statistics for Health Care Research (EBHC), as part of the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme.


Disclaimer: the article has not been peer-reviewed; it should not replace individual clinical judgement, and the sources cited should be checked. The views expressed in this commentary represent the views of the authors and not necessarily those of the host institution, the NHS, the NIHR, or the Department of Health and Social Care. The views are not a substitute for professional medical advice.