Feature Data Briefing

How Europe copes with flu

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k266 (Published 25 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k266
  1. John Appleby, director of research and chief economist
  1. Nuffield Trust, London, UK

This year is particularly tough for the NHS, but it is not the only health service to feel winter pain, finds John Appleby

UK hospital admission rates for flu increased to over 7 per 100 000 population in the first week of 2018—compared with just over 2/100 000 for the same week in 2017.1 Ambulance handover delays have also increased (fig 1) and pressure on beds remains high (fig 2).2 Influenza varies across countries—the numbers of patients admitted to intensive care units in Sweden and Ireland in the first week of this year are low, but in France and England are high (fig 3).3 But are we alone in finding it hard to deal with the pressures of winter?

Fig 1

Ambulance handover delays in England, 20 November to 31 December 20172

Fig 2

Bed occupancy (general and acute beds) in England, 20 November to 31 December 20172

Fig 3

Number of patients with influenza in intensive care by week of reporting: England, …

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