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NHS in ‘state of crisis’ as hospitals declare criticial incidents over Covid

NHS in ‘state of crisis’ as hospitals declare criticial incidents over Covid
PM insists no new measures needed as hospitals plead with ‘exhausted’ staff to give up rest days to keep services open

国民保健服务 is in a “state of crisis”, leaders have warned, 作为 hospitals across the country declared critical incidents and prime minister Boris Johnson admitted pressures will last for “weeks”.

Hospitals and ambulance services across the UK have moved up to their highest alert levels as they grapple with “unprecedented pressure”, 和 冠状病毒病 driving staffing shortages at the same time as rising admissions.

England and Scotland recorded a combined 157,758 new cases of Covid on Monday, while the number of patients in hospitals across England with the disease reached 13,151 – up from 12,615 on New Year’s Day. No new data for Wales or Northern Ireland was available on Monday.

“In many parts of the health service, we are currently in a state of crisis,” said Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents hospitals.

Healthcare leaders in Norfolk have declared a major incident, having warned the public on Christmas Eve that their hospitals faced the “most significant and sustained pressures they have faced in recent years”. They asked people to only come to A&E if absolutely necessary.

同时, hospitals in Lincolnshire triggered a critical incident over “extreme and unprecedented staffing shortages”, as East Midlands Ambulance Service said it had received a “record-breaking” 1,714 calls via the 999 service in the first seven hours of 2022.

Prime minister Boris Johnson insisted on Monday that no further Covid restrictions were needed in England, though he admitted that “the pressure on our NHS and on our hospitals is going to be considerable in the course of the next couple of weeks, and maybe more”.

Defending his light-touch approach – in stark contrast to crackdowns in the rest of the UK – Mr Johnson said: “We have got plan B in place, people should never forget that.”

他加了: “The way forward for the country as a whole is to continue with the path that we’re on.

“We’ll keep everything under review – of course we keep all measures under review – but the mixture of things that we’re doing at the moment is I think, the right one.”

His comments came as NHS staff found themselves under pressure to cancel holidays in order to keep services running.

泰勒先生说: “In the face of high levels of demand and staff absence, some hospitals are having to declare a ‘critical incident’.

“Some hospitals are making urgent calls to exhausted staff to give up rest days and leave, to enable them to sustain core services. Many more hospitals are having to ban visitors to try to reduce the spread of infection. NHS England is continuing to plan for surge capacity.

“Community and social care services, which were already massively overstretched, are at breaking point. In many areas, ambulance services are unable to meet their target response times. Primary care is having to add caring for Covid-19 patients, and trying to keep them out of hospitals, to driving the booster programme and dealing with unprecedented underlying demand, which is driven in part by the millions of unwell people waiting for appointments and operations.”

Short staffing is driving pressures across most hospitals in the country. According to reports in 星期日泰晤士报, 一个 10 staff were off sick on New Year’s Eve.

作为 previously reported by 独立,NHS leaders have been told to prepare for a peak in Covid hospital admissions in the second week of January. Hospital chiefs have warned that this could come as staff shortages reach their highest point.

The news comes as access to Covid testing across the UK continues to be a problem. NHS England told staff on New Year’s Eve it was aware of the difficulties and that they should contact their employer if they were unable to access tests.