Share this @internewscast.com

Twenty-four NHS  trusts have now declared ‘critical incidents’ due to staff shortages and rising Covid admissions, it was revealed today — but ministers have downplayed the warnings and insisted it is not unusual for hospitals to face winter crises.

Grant Shapps announced another four sites hit the panic button overnight, meaning roughly a fifth of England’s 137 trusts have signalled they may not be able to deliver critical care in the coming weeks.

But the Transport Secretary poured cold water over the alerts, saying: ‘It’s not entirely unusual for hospitals to go critical over the winter.’ He accepted, however, that there are ‘very real pressures’. 

The full list of trusts has not been made public, however those which have raised the alarm include North East Ambulance Service, Dorset County Hospital and Great Western Hospitals.

Trusts declaring critical incidents — the highest level of alert — can ask staff on leave or on rest days to return to wards, and raising the alarm enables them to receive help from nearby hospitals.

It comes as MPs warned the patient waiting list has hit 6million in England alone, and could double in three years without further action due to pressure on the health service.

But Boris Johnson said yesterday that life could be back to normal by February, after cases rose by just six per cent in a week yesterday. The UK recorded 194,747 daily cases, compared to 183,037 last Wednesday.

The Prime Minister has held his nerve in the face of the spiralling Omicron wave — unlike his counterparts in Scotland and Wales — and imposed no new curbs over the holidays, winning him praise from Tory MPs. 

Tories have also vented their frustration at ‘BBC bias’ for giving prominent airtime to a left-wing GP, who claimed it was wrong for the PM to say the country could ‘ride out’ the Omicron wave when the public was suffering. 

NHS hospitals are currently facing severe pressures from a staffing crisis fuelled by Covid, with one in ten medics now thought to be off sick, and an increase in Covid hospitalisations.

And GPs are now also short-staffed, with the head of the Royal College of GPs Professor Martin Marshall warning a ‘growing number’ of clinicians and other staff members are isolating because of the virus. He warned of the ‘pressure’ GPs were under, and said patients with ‘minor self-limiting problems’ should try to treat themselves where possible using online resources, or visiting pharmacies. 

Some medics are calling for self-isolation to be slashed to five days in line with France and the US as long as it is backed up by the science, to help get staff back on to wards faster.

But Government scientists have warned against the move saying it would be ‘counter-productive’ because it risked sending infectious employees back onto wards. 

A total of 24 out of 137 NHS Trusts in England have declared critical incidents — or 17.5 per cent. Above are the trusts that have publicly announced they have declared these incidents to help them manage winter pressures

A total of 24 out of 137 NHS Trusts in England have declared critical incidents — or 17.5 per cent. Above are the trusts that have publicly announced they have declared these incidents to help them manage winter pressures

A total of 24 out of 137 NHS Trusts in England have declared critical incidents — or 17.5 per cent. Above are the trusts that have publicly announced they have declared these incidents to help them manage winter pressures

The number of daily positive Covid tests recorded in England has exceeded 100,000 for nearly two weeks. However, the number of patients in hospital with the virus is a fraction of the level seen last winter, while deaths remain flat

The number of daily positive Covid tests recorded in England has exceeded 100,000 for nearly two weeks. However, the number of patients in hospital with the virus is a fraction of the level seen last winter, while deaths remain flat

The number of daily positive Covid tests recorded in England has exceeded 100,000 for nearly two weeks. However, the number of patients in hospital with the virus is a fraction of the level seen last winter, while deaths remain flat

Tory MPs criticised the BBC over its Covid coverage last night after it gave airtime to a Left-wing critic of the PM. It came as the Today programme aired a string of warnings from other NHS figures over the 'really challenging' circumstances facing hospitals

Tory MPs criticised the BBC over its Covid coverage last night after it gave airtime to a Left-wing critic of the PM. It came as the Today programme aired a string of warnings from other NHS figures over the 'really challenging' circumstances facing hospitals

Tory MPs criticised the BBC over its Covid coverage last night after it gave airtime to a Left-wing critic of the PM. It came as the Today programme aired a string of warnings from other NHS figures over the ‘really challenging’ circumstances facing hospitals

NHS waiting lists ‘are set to double by 2025’ as drive to clear backlog is thrown off course

Efforts to clear record NHS waiting lists risk being thrown off course by a staff shortage fuelled by Covid isolation rules, MPs have warned.

The pandemic has had a ‘catastrophic impact’ on patients with almost 6million now waiting for care in England.

But the Commons health and social care committee said lists could double by 2025 without urgent action to get more doctors and nurses on wards.

In a report it highlights 93,000 vacancies in the health service, with rules forcing staff to self-isolate for at least a week if they test positive for Covid adding to the shortfall.

The committee said NHS staff are under pressure from multiple angles as they deal with routine care, Covid and soaring demand for ambulances and A&E.

MPs fear workers will quit unless they see ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in the form of more recruits.

They say tackling the wider backlog caused by the pandemic is a major and ‘unquantifiable’ challenge as it includes all those who have yet to come forward for care.

Committee members want a broad national recovery plan embracing emergency, community and social care, as well as mental health and GPs.

The report said: ‘Of the 5.8million patients waiting to start treatment in September 2021, 300,000 have been waiting more than a year and 12,000 more than two years.’

But it cautions: ‘With Covid-related measures such as social distancing and staff self-isolation constraining NHS capacity, we heard it is extremely difficult to accurately quantify the true scale of the backlog.’ 

<!—->

Advertisement

Mr Shapps’ figure was more specific than that given on Wednesday by the Prime Minister’s official spokesman, who said more than 20 NHS trusts had declared a critical incident.

But the No 10 official insisted that the declaration was ‘not a good indicator’ of the demands the health service was under.

With the NHS facing staffing and capacity struggles, Mr Shapps defended the Government’s decision to not go further than Plan B restrictions for England.

‘We are always trying to find the right compromise on going too tight on restrictions – lockdowns, let’s face it, they have a lot of costs connected,’ he added.

‘Then again, not wanting our hospitals to be overrun. This is where I think Plan B has been shown to be the right approach so far.’

NHS England sources told MailOnline that critical incidents were ‘not a good way’ of monitoring pressures on hospitals, saying it was better to monitor patient admissions and staff absences.

They warned that more than 24 trusts may have declared critical incidents, because they are not required to report them centrally.

More trusts are declaring critical incidents at present than before Covid took hold, they said.

Government figures showed that a total of 17,276 people were in hospital in the UK with Covid as of January 4, up 58 per cent week-on-week.

The figure is the highest number since February 19 last year, although far below the peak of almost 40,000 in January 2021.

Some 10 per cent of workers are also off sick of self-isolation due to Covid in hospitals.

Pressure is now also spilling over to GPs, where leaders warn there are a ‘growing number’ of staff absences due to Covid.

Professor Marshall told Sky News: ‘We’ve got very significant pressures in general practice, which are long-standing of course but are made considerably worse by the Covid pandemic, and particularly by this Omicron variant.

‘We’ve got a growing number of clinicians and administrative staff in general practice who are either unwell or who are isolating, and are unable to contribute to the growing number of consultations that we’re providing and the vaccination programme that we’re contributing to as well. So we’ve got a significant crisis on top of a long-standing one.’

He said there is a need to communicate to the general public ‘the pressure that general practice is under and explain why it isn’t possible to provide the service, the access and the quality of care that we would expect and want to be able to provide’.

He added: ‘We also need to be able to direct patients who’ve got minor self-limiting problems to other resources, whether it be online, whether it be pharmacies, and we also, I think, need to be able to help our patients to self-care wherever that’s possible.

‘But the big issue here is the long-term crisis, which is about the recruitment of the 6,000 extra GPs and the 26,000 other health professionals which the Government committed to in 2019, but unfortunately isn’t delivering on at present.’

Mr Johnson’s decision to hold his nerve and not impose more restrictions in England has won him praise from Conservatives, who said it was right not to lockdown every time there was a new variant. 

Former Prime Minister Theresa May hailed Mr Johnson, telling the Commons: ‘May I commend you for resisting calls from Labour for more restrictions before Christmas. It’s not in the national interest to shut down sectors of our economy every time we see a variant.’

Lockdown-sceptic MP Steve Brine also heeralded the PM, saying: ‘The Prime Minister deserves real credit for decisions in respect of Covid — he has followed the evidence and taken the wider view of our society and economy.’

Tory MPs have also vented their fury over the BBC giving airtime to Dr Zahid Chauhan — a GP in Oldham and Labour councillor — who was invited onto Radio 4’s Today programme to take aim at Mr Johnson.

He claimed it was wrong for the PM to say, as he did on Tuesday, that the country could ‘ride out’ the Omicron threat when the public was ‘suffering’.

BBC is accused after giving prominent airtime to Left-wing GP in radio debate over PM’s handling of Covid 

Tory MPs criticised the BBC over its Covid coverage last night after it gave airtime to a Left-wing critic of the PM.

Dr Zahid Chauhan – a GP in Oldham and Labour councillor – was invited on Radio 4’s Today programme to take aim at Boris Johnson.

He claimed it was wrong for the PM to say, as he did on Tuesday, that the country could ‘ride out’ the Omicron threat when the public was ‘suffering’.

Presenter Nick Robinson interviewed Dr Chauhan, who he introduced as ‘a GP in Oldham and a Labour councillor in the area’.

Asked what the cancellation of non-urgent surgery would mean, he said: ‘It means for my patients that they will be waiting longer, they will be unfortunately suffering more… If you are waiting for a hip replacement and you can’t walk, that means you are in pain.’

Asked whether the cancellations would have been necessary had restrictions been in place, he said: ‘If you have appropriate availability of lateral flow tests and PCR tests available, that means staff can come back to work.

‘In the Manchester area people could not book PCR tests yesterday. All these factors play a role. It does not help when your Prime Minister says we will ride it out while the public is suffering.’

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘Medical experts are there to express a view about Covid issues and risks but not to make political points about the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition.

‘If you invite someone on for their medical opinion and they talk about their political views, it ends up with allegations of political bias.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘We made it clear at the top of the interview that the GP was also a Labour councillor and none of the questions put to him were of a political nature.’

<!—->

Advertisement

Presenter Nick Robinson interviewed Dr Chauhan, who he introduced as ‘a GP in Oldham and a Labour councillor in the area’.

Asked what the cancellation of non-urgent surgery would mean, he said: ‘It means for my patients that they will be waiting longer, they will be unfortunately suffering more… If you are waiting for a hip replacement and you can’t walk, that means you are in pain.’

Asked whether the cancellations would have been necessary had restrictions been in place, he said: ‘If you have appropriate availability of lateral flow tests and PCR tests available, that means staff can come back to work.

‘In the Manchester area people could not book PCR tests yesterday. All these factors play a role. It does not help when your Prime Minister says we will ride it out while the public is suffering.’ 

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘Medical experts are there to express a view about Covid issues and risks but not to make political points about the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition.

‘If you invite someone on for their medical opinion and they talk about their political views, it ends up with allegations of political bias.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘We made it clear at the top of the interview that the GP was also a Labour councillor and none of the questions put to him were of a political nature.’ 

It comes as MPs warned today that efforts to clear record waiting lists risked being thrown off course by a staffing shortage caused by Covid isolation rules.

The Commons health and social care committee said there were 93,000 vacancies in the health service, with rules forcing staff to self-isolate for at least a week if they test positive for Covid adding to the shortfall.

The committee said NHS staff are under pressure from multiple angles as they deal with routine care, Covid and soaring demand for ambulances and A&E.

MPs fear workers will quit unless they see ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in the form of more recruits.

They say tackling the wider backlog caused by the pandemic is a major and ‘unquantifiable’ challenge as it includes all those who have yet to come forward for care.

Committee members want a broad national recovery plan embracing emergency, community and social care, as well as mental health and GPs.

The report said: ‘Of the 5.8million patients waiting to start treatment in September 2021, 300,000 have been waiting more than a year and 12,000 more than two years.’

But it cautions: ‘With Covid-related measures such as social distancing and staff self-isolation constraining NHS capacity, we heard it is extremely difficult to accurately quantify the true scale of the backlog.’

Former Health Secretary and committee chair Jeremy Hunt warned that NHS workers were retiring early because of the ‘stress and pressure’ they faced, combined with ‘perverse’ pension arrangements.

He said preventing doctors and nurses from leaving the health service was crucial to addressing a backlog of almost six million people waiting to receive NHS treatment.

Speaking to LBC, the chairman of the Health and Social Care Committee said: ‘I think one of the things that will make a difference is to do things that stop people leaving the NHS.

‘We’re getting a lot of people leaving the NHS, we’re getting a lot of people who are retiring early because of the stress and pressure.

‘Some people find that it doesn’t pay to work beyond a certain age because of the pension arrangements, which are very perverse at the moment, so we could attack those.

‘But I would say, most of all, what people want to know is that the pressure of not having enough doctors and nurses is not going to go on forever.’

It comes amid mounting pressure to cut self-isolation periods to five days to help ease pressures on the health service, with doctors warning current guidelines were adding to ‘misery’ and ‘crippling’ the health service. 

They are also calling for guidelines on patients exposed to a Covid case to be reviewed, which currently require them to isolate for 14 days from last exposure if they remain in hospital. 

This applies to all patients, irrespective of whether they have been fully vaccinated or had a previous Covid infection. The same rule applies if the patient is discharged to a care home — they must be isolated for the remainder of the 14-day period. 

Pat Cattini, an infection control nurse at the Royal Marsden NHS foundation Trust, told the Health Service Journal (HSJ) the guidance has never been updated ‘despite vaccination and changing epidemiology and is crippling healthcare’.  

Source: Daily Mail

Share this @internewscast.com
You May Also Like

Harry Gration And Wife Helen Gration: How Old Is Their Baby? Children And Family Details

Jason McAfee Guitarist Brother To Pat McAfee – Is He Married With…

Memorial held for victims of the Surfside tragedy on anniversary of the condo collapse

A memorial ceremony honoring the victims of a deadly condo collapse was…

Sen. Scott defends vote against bipartisan gun bill after signing similar policy as Florida’s governor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first major legislation on gun safety sailed through…

Afraid same-sex marriage may be overturned next, this Jacksonville couple called their lawyer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v.…

Some US clinics stop doing abortions as ruling takes hold

Abortion bans that were put on the books in some states in…

CEO of women’s clinic in Jacksonville reacts to Roe v. Wade

Kelly Flynn, CEO of A Woman’s Choice, said they’ll continue to provide…

Mom Texts & Browses YouTube as Unattended 1-Year-Old Daughter Drowns in Bathtub: Cops – Crime Online

A Texas woman was arrested on Thursday in connection with the drowning…

FBI investigates fire at Colorado pregnancy center as arson

(WFLA) — The FBI and local authorities are investigating a fire at…