NHS Chief: Hospitals have six weeks to empty beds and avoid flu chaos
The health service is braced for a flu outbreak this winter, according to NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens.
Hospitals and GPs are being told to prepare now for a “heavy flu season” to avoid a winter crisis.
Speaking at the NHS Expo conference in Manchester the NHS chief said: “The signs from Australia and New Zealand . . . are that it has been a heavy flu season and many of the hospitals down there have struggled to cope.”
“We know that there is a great deal of work to be done over the next six to eight weeks with our partners in local authorities to put the NHS on the right footing for the winter ahead.”
Mr Stevens added that better planning would free up 3,000 beds by November and that preventing winter chaos was the NHS’s “top priority”.
Paul Cosford, medical director at Public Health England, said: “It’s really important that as many eligible people as possible get their jab, which is the best way to protect everyone from flu.”