The number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 has now exceeded the number during the peak of the first wave.
Nursing staff have been thanked for their hard work during the festive period but have been asked to work additional shifts over the next three weeks.
A “call to action” by NHS England and NHS Improvement sent to all NHS staff in London on Christmas Eve reveals that hospitals are under immense pressure as “COVID-19 rates rise in the capital”.
Official figures show that the total number of people in hospital with COVID-19 has now exceeded the number during the peak of the first wave.
NursingNotes has heard reports of essential training days and annual leave being canceled.
The letter reads; “We are aware that a number of staff have deferred leave. giving up much needed family time, and are supporting colleagues in going the extra mile. Thank you.
“As a region we are doing everything we can to support additional capacity, prioritise safe discharge from hospital, provide additional staff support, and ensuring that you have the right equipment and PPE.”
“For those staff who have the skills and capacity to do so. particularly those who do not normally work in emergency services, we are asking you to please consider undertaking additional shifts over the next three weeks as we wait for the Tier 4 restrictions to impact on infection rates.
It continues; “We know that this is not easy when you are tired but this is a “call to action” to NHS colleagues to come forward if they can, as so many did during the first wave of the pandemic.
“Words cannot express our gratitude to you for your efforts throughout 2020. Thank you again in anticipation of your extraordinary efforts in the coming weeks.”
Anthony Johnson, a registered nurse and lead organiser for the grassroots group Nurses United UK, responded to the letter; “What we seem to be seeing is that our NHS really is at breaking point and at risk of being overwhelmed.
“Thousands of exhausted NHS workers have been saying that this feels worse than the first peak and were ignored by this Government who has loosened restrictions at the worst time.
“We need to lockdown again and everyone who can get a vaccine needs to accept it as COVID is and always has been serious”