Concern as three and a half times as many Covid cases in England’s IC units

The number of Covid cases serious enough to require intensive care continues to be far higher, per head of population, in England than in Scotland

However, in the most recent data for week ending 1 March 2023, however, as overall admissions rise, the contrast is marked with three and a half times as many in English hospitals.

Something in the English system is failing to catch the cases at threat of becoming life-threatening quickly enough.

I’ve reported this many times and the obvious factors are more doctors and more nurses in cleaner hospitals, more GPs referring cases quickly and free prescriptions for all of those with asthma. On the latter:

Lorna Murray [] tweeted:

People in England are unable to pay for drugs such as ventolin for asthma therefore are hospitalised as a result

I was intrigued and did a quick search for evidence either way. No research group seems to have done this and I offer my hypothesis below ready to be contradicted with better evidence but:

People with moderate-to-severe or uncontrolled asthma are more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19.

People with mild and/or well-controlled asthma are neither at significantly increased risk of hospitalisation with nor more likely to die from COVID-19 than adults without asthma.

I think its reasonable to interpret ‘well-controlled‘ as involving medication.

Can everyone afford to be medicated adequately?

Essential medicines for treating asthma and COPD were largely unavailable and unaffordable in LMICs [low-income and middle-income countries]. This was particularly true for inhalers containing corticosteroids.

The Covid death rate in Scotland is 226.8 per 100 000. In England, it is 310.9, 37% higher in a country with a generally higher life expectancy.

There have been 12 389 Covid deaths in Scotland and 175 007 in England, around 45 890 more per head of population.

Around 5.4 million in the UK have asthma.


  1. Have free asthma prescriptions in Scotland played a major part in saving 4 589 (37%) from Covid deaths?
  2. Has a lack of free asthma prescriptions for the poor in England, played a major part in tens of thousands of avoidable Covid deaths?


3 thoughts on “Concern as three and a half times as many Covid cases in England’s IC units

  1. The Scottish ‘health’ correspondents could not give a monkey’. All they want is a decontextualised datum which they can present as Scotland failing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was already familiar with the Lancet article and remember you posting other supporting links in an article months ago. I think it is clear that free prescriptions in Scotland have saved many people and helped our ICUs get through covid, and the lack of free prescriptions in England is what lies behind their tererible death toll and current ICU burden.

    They’re keeping it pretty quiet though.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A bit O/T. On the British Medical Association’s website, there is a brief article (28 February 2023) on a GP surgery in the Ayrshire town of Largs . I think it merits a bit of amplification btl here.


    ‘GPs are working under greater pressure than ever before, but added to this is A TOXIC MEDIA CLIMATE and A RISING TIDE OF ABUSE FROM A MINORITY OF PATIENTS.’ (my emphasis)

    The BMA piece notes: ‘The vast majority of healthcare in the town and its surrounds is delivered by Largs Medical Practice, which offers a wide array of services, thanks in part to the new Scottish GP contract, which was agreed in 2018, but still in the process of being implemented.

    An then a description of services provided in this one practice: ‘This involves the presence of a multidisciplinary team, including a mental health practitioner, first-contact physiotherapist, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and a community link worker. As well as its own nursing team, there is also access to district nursing, health visiting, and midwifery on site. These additional roles have largely been welcomed by the local population and demand is high, but not everybody is happy with services offered by the practice, and this takes a toll on GPs and staff.

    “There’s an active local Facebook group which has been really quite difficult and challenging, particularly for our staff, who are on the front line,” says one of the GP partners.

    Adding: “There still seems to be THIS NEGATIVE MEDIA RHETORIC that practices are not open, that your GP is “not working” and that’s completely not true. In fact it’s the absolute opposite.”

    Another GP Partner has taken the decision to ‘cut his sessions in an attempt to preserve his mental health.’ “I’ve never worked as hard as I have in the last three years – it’s been relentless”, he says and adds “(I) consider myself a resilient person, and I’VE ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO IGNORE NEGATIVE MEDIA ATTENTION, BUT IT JUST STARTED TO GET TO ME. It’s not just the mainstream media, it’s the local Facebook group – it’s local, and it’s personal.’

    Impacted by a ‘toxic media climate’ in Scotland concerning our NHS? Well that doesn’t come as any surprise!

    Liked by 2 people

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