Nearly 19,000 NHS staff were absent from work last week.
NHS workers face a challenging Christmas after the number of NHS staff absent from work skyrockets because of COVID-19, according to new data.
Official statistics reveal that nearly 19,000 NHS staff were absent from work last week with Covid-related issues, up by a huge 54% on the previous week.
Yesterday a record-breaking 119,789 new cases of the virus were recorded in the UK, despite evidence suggesting the Omicron variant is a “milder” virus.
Health leaders are now warning the NHS is currently facing significant pressure, not through a rise in attendances but due to an acute on chronic staffing shortage.
In response to concerns, NHS England relaxed self-isolation rules of NHS workers allowing them to return to work even if someone else in their household tests positive. A reduction in isolation time from 10 to 7 days could also be implemented across the health service.
Operating beyond full-stretch.
Nursing staff told NursingNotes earlier this month that things are already bad, with whole wards running on a single registered nurse.
Responding to the latest NHS winter “sitrep” figures, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said; “These figures show how Omicron is having a tangible real-time impact on a service that was already operating beyond full stretch, through increased staff absences.
“This is a big worry for trust leaders who are doing all they can to support colleagues at this very challenging time.
“Absences due to COVID-19 are up nearly 40%, and with community infections surging ahead, that figure may well get worse before it gets better.”
Before warning; “The next few weeks will present a huge test for the NHS on many fronts – coping with COVID-19, handling emergencies, working on the backlog where possible, and delivering boosters.