UK Covid live: Matt Hancock tells MPs pandemic has made NHS reform 'more, not less, urgent'

By Andrew Sparrow

07:35

07:25

NHS England had more Covid patients in critical care beds yesterday than it did for all conditions combined on the same day last year.

A total of 3,160 people were being treated for Covid in critical care beds yesterday, compared to the 3,019 adult critical care beds occupied by patients with any condition on the same day in 2020.

The health service required more than 5,000 critical care beds for 22 days running between mid-January and 5 February. However, there was a slight decrease this weekend with just over 4,800 adult critical care beds occupied on Saturday and Sunday.

Although an improvement on the previous week, the average number of required critical care beds in the week to 7 February (5,039) was 58% higher than the five-year average.

A total of 16 trusts were at full capacity on average in the week to 7 February, up from 15 last week.

Four of these trusts are in the south east (Dartford and Gravesham, Frimley Health, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, Portsmouth Hospitals University) and a further four in the midlands (Chesterfield Royal Hospital, George Eliot Hospital, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals, University Hospitals Birmingham).

07:12

Yes lead in Scottish independence debate narrowing, poll suggests

New polling shows support for Scottish independence dropping back, though still ahead of that for remaining in the UK, whilst revealing that the majority of SNP voters back Nicola Sturgeon’s stance on transgender law reform.

The Yes vote dropped from 57% to 53% in the latest poll from Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman, excluding don’t knows.

Including those who remain undecided, just under half (47%) of Scots would vote for independence, 42% would not and one in ten (10%) Scots are unsure how they would vote if there was a second referendum.

Savanta ComRes (@SavantaComRes)

The 'Yes' lead narrows but Scots would still vote for Independence if #indyref2 were tomorrow.Yes 47% (-4)No 42% (+4)Undecided 10% (-)w/o UndecidedYes 53% (-4)No 47% (+4)4-9 Feb

(changes from 8-13 Jan)@TheScotsman pic.twitter.com/q9nBditMCt

February 11, 2021

While this polling has been immediately interpreted as evidence that recent SNP in-fighting over referendum strategy, transgender rights and the ongoing Salmond inquiry has affected support for independence, it’s worth noting that support for the party at May’s Holyrood elections remains virtually unchanged since January.

Savanta ComRes (@SavantaComRes)

The Scottish Conservatives also move back into second place in the list vote.List VI:SNP 43% (-1)Conservative 21% (+5)Labour 18% (-)Green 10% (-1)LD 6% (-2)Other 2% (-1)4-9 Feb

(changes from 8-13 Jan)@TheScotsman pic.twitter.com/XacF2yJnPo

February 11, 2021

Of particular interest given the current high-profile divisions over transgender rights reform, the poll also found that 37% of Scots backed the general principle of reform of the Gender Recognition Act – attempts to streamline the process by which people can change their legal gender - with 26% opposing it.

The poll also found the decision to sack Joanna Cherry from the SNP’s Westminster front bench – which some have argued was because she has consistently raised concerns about the impact of such changes on women’s rights and women-only spaces - was backed by 32% of SNP voters, compared with 13% who opposed it.

06:57

06:50

Matt Hancock tells MPs Covid has made NHS reform 'more, not less, urgent'

06:24

Covid death risk more than three times higher for more-disabled people, and people with learning disabilities, says ONS

Updated

06:05

Cancer services have continued to recover, new NHS figures show, with 25,199 people starting treatment in December, 555 more than in the same month the previous year.

Having seen cancer services fall off dramatically at the height of the first wave, data for December shows that the NHS was treating almost more patients than in December 2019 across several metrics.

However, a spokeswoman for Macmillan Cancer Support said the full-year figures showed that 2020 was the worst year on record for cancer waiting times in England in terms of performance against all nine key metrics which saw the lowest number of people starting cancer treatment in England for 10 years.

Sara Bainbridge, head of policy at Macmillan, said.

Whilst today’s data shows that a lot of cancer care continued in December, it rounds off 2020 as a devastating year for many people living with cancer who faced agonising delays or disruption to diagnosis and treatment, compounded with fears that this could impact their prognosis.

05:49

Almost third of all Covid hospital patients in England during pandemic admitted last month, NHS says

05:19

Hancock rejects claims that it's wrong to reorganise NHS in midst of pandemic

Updated

05:00

More than 220,000 people waiting more than year for hospital treatment in England, latest figures show

03:54

Kent variant likely to 'sweep the world', says leading British scientist

Updated