Hospitals are facing their busiest week of the year amid an NHS staffing crisis as widespread absences due to Covid and the warning of a mass exodus threaten to affect care.
Eight NHS Trusts have declared a critical incident over their ability to provide a high standard of care to patients in what is, under normal circumstances, “the busiest week in the NHS calendar,” according to Chris Hopson, CEO of NHS Providers.
“Over the last ten days we’ve seen lots of pressure in London and that is now moving to the rest of the country,” he told TalkRadio, as one in ten medical staff are currently off work. “The NHS and our social care colleagues are very busy with non-Covid care.”
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The eight NHS Trusts which declared a critical incident have officially acknowledged their hospitals won’t be able to provide the quality of care that they want to, unless they receive help from other services, explained Hopson.
While the number of Covid cases in hospitals might still be manageable, the explosion in cases across the country and among NHS staff has left many wards with a skeleton workforce.
Hospitals are facing crippling shortages of staff across departments as nearly 1 in 10 health care professionals were off work over New Year – the busiest time of year for all patients. Some 50,000 essential health workers at home were either sick or self-isolating over New Year.