The coronavirus emergency response level for the health service should be reduced due to a reduction in hospital admissions, the chief executive of NHS England has said.
Sir Simon Stevens said the NHS's Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) coronavirus alert level should be reduced from four to three due to "reduced acute pressures on the health service".
Speaking at the NHS England Board meeting on Thursday, Sir Simon said: "We had over 34,000 severely ill coronavirus patients in our hospitals in mid-January.
"That number is now 4,000 and although that is still about 400 more Covid patients than we had this same day a year ago, nevertheless that very sharp decrease in the number of patients with Covid in hospital is a consequence of both declining infection rates across the community and the impact that’s now being felt from the vaccination programme.
"As a result of those much reduced acute pressures on the health service, today I’m recommending that we reduce the national alert level across the health service – the EPRR alert level – from level four to level three, and that would take effect today."
Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) levels:
Level 1: An incident that can be responded to and managed by a local health provider organisation within their respective business as usual capabilities and business continuity plans in liaison with local commissioners.
Level 2: An incident that requires the response of a number of health providers within a defined health economy and will require NHS coordination by the local commissioner(s) in liaison with the NHS England local office.
Level 3: An incident that requires the response of a number of health organisations across geographical areas within a NHS England region. NHS England to coordinate the NHS response in collaboration with local commissioners at the tactical level.
Level 4: An incident that requires NHS England national command and control to support the NHS Response. NHS England to coordinate the NHS response in collaboration with local commissioners at the tactical level.