Healthcare services at NHS Tayside are busier now more so than any other time during the pandemic, says a Ninewells Hospital specialist.
Despite the number of people in hospital with Covid being much lower than previous peaks of the pandemic, the figures don’t show the whole picture faced by staff and organisation’s across Scotland on a day-to-day basis, according to consultant respiratory physician at Ninewells, Dr David Connell.
Last month, concerns were initially raised about the ‘huge’ backlog of postponed operations in Tayside and Fife potentially risking the lives of people waiting on lifesaving surgeries.
With the number of Scottish patients in hospital with Covid creeping up day by day, healthcare services are struggling to balance the treatment of coronavirus patients and those with other illnesses.
‘Busier than it’s ever been’
Speaking on Times Radio on Thursday, Dr Connell said: “Locally, at NHS Tayside, what we’ve tried to do for the last year at least is put together a really detailed dashboard which looks at everything from how busy our GP’s are to how busy our social care partnerships are.
“And also how busy the Covid wards are to how many tests are being done to provide a really rich picture of what’s happening across the whole of NHS Tayside.
“What we can see is that the actual number of beds of people with Covid is much lower but the whole activity of the system is as busy or probably busier than it’s ever been.”
The number of people in hospital with Covid in Scotland on Thursday was 401, an increase from 387 on Wednesday and 338 on Tuesday.
In total 38 patients are being treated for Covid in ICU in Scotland, an increase from 16 last Thursday.
Fife had 21 patients on Thursday being treated for Covid, whereas last Thursday there were only eight.
In Tayside, there were 58 people being treated for coronavirus in hospital on Thursday, with six patients in ICU.
It was reported on Thursday that a further five people had died in Scotland within 28 days of testing positive for Covid. One of those five was registered in Dundee and another from Perth and Kinross.
Daily cases Vs. hospitalisations
Overall in Scotland, the number of new Scottish daily cases on Thursday has dropped from 3,799 on Wednesday to 2,802.
The number of new daily cases on Thursday is at a similar level to the number of new cases recorded on January 7 2021, however, figures at the time showed 1,467 people were in hospitals across the country.
This number is significantly higher than the number of patients recorded as being in hospital currently, with 401 patients recorded on Thursday.
Current case rates
Overall, Fife recorded 425.9 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days with a total of 221 new cases on Thursday.
Tayside still have the highest case rates per 100,000 in the last seven days in the UK.
Dundee continues to top Scotland’s number of highest case rates as the city on Thursday recorded 757.4 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days.
Dundee had a total of 132 new cases on Thursday, while Perth and Kinross had 99 and Angus had 77.
‘Doesn’t tell the whole picture’
Ninewells specialist Dr Connell addressed the topic that the number of Covid hospitalisations being recorded throughout Scotland show a different impression on the level of pressure the NHS are currently facing.
He said: “I think that’s the problem when we look at those epidemiological modellings or when we look at Government communicating.
“While hospitalisations are low that doesn’t tell the whole picture of what the staff are experiencing or what the organisations are experiencing on a day-to-day basis right now.”