Intended for healthcare professionals


Seven days in medicine: 23-29 November 2016

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 01 December 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6433

Flu deaths

Excess winter mortality halved last year

Excess winter deaths from December 2015 to March 2016 totalled 24 300, almost half the number during the same period the previous winter, which saw the highest number of excess winter deaths in 15 years (43 850). Data from the UK Office for National Statistics showed similar levels of reported flu activity in both winters. Anne Campbell, health analysis and life events statistician, said that the fall in excess mortality “was mainly due to the most prevalent strain of the flu virus impacting younger people rather older people.”

Hospital pressures

Bed occupancy remains above recommended levels

The percentage of beds occupied in hospital wards that are open overnight exceeded 89% in the second quarter (July to September) of 2016-17, figures from NHS England showed. Last year’s equivalent figure was 87%. In 2000-01, overnight hospital bed occupancy averaged 84.7%. Health experts advise that occupancy levels should ideally be under 85%.

NHS England backs CCG’s surgery restriction policy

NHS England gave the green light to plans by the Vale of York clinical commissioning group (CCG) to require obese patients and smokers to make lifestyle changes or wait 12 months for surgery. To avoid a delay to their surgery, patients with a body mass index above 30 will need to lose 10% of their weight and smokers will be required to quit for two months, for which support will be provided. Despite the new criteria Shaun O’Connell, a local GP and …

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