NHS employees in England were “moved to tears” by staff shortages due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, said the Royal College of Nursing.
RCN director for England Patricia Marquis said the government needs to be “honest” with the public about pressures on healthcare, adding that patient care has been compromised.
“There is pressure on staff from all sides, and it is important that the government speak honestly to the public about the state of the NHS and welfare and give an honest assessment of why we are unable to consider others drag. “Limitations, either on public health or on what the NHS can actually do,” she said.
“Many nurses go to work with only half as many staff, but still the same number of patients.
“They are getting thinner and thinner and we hear from many who are moved to tears because they cannot care for their patients.”
The explanation comes because many public services are using contingency plans to mitigate bottlenecks, with some hospital trusts reporting critical incidents that could threaten priority services.
A union representative for an NHS hospital trust in South Yorkshire said workers in their area were “burned out” due to staff shortages.
The NHS staff member, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the situation was “worse in terms of absences” than it was in January 2021.
“People lower their heads and get on with the job, but there is also a lot of burnout,” they said.
“I am concerned about the longer-term psychological impact of employees who have been exposed to so much pressure over such a long period of time.”
They also expressed concern about plans to introduce vaccines to NHS frontline and social care workers in regulated settings in England from Jan.
“The vaccination mandate could also make staffing problems worse, so it’s really just one thing above the other,” they added.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson will host a press conference on Downing Street on Tuesday as Number 10 admitted that the healthcare sector faces a “difficult time” during a “challenging winter”.
Officials in Whitehall are “extremely closely watching” hospital capacities as admissions and occupancy are “increasing significantly”.
But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said, “We’re not seeing the same jump in beds that require ventilation, which is gratifying and almost certainly a feature of both the nature of Omicron and our successful booster program.”
He added that the vaccinations and “evidence that Omicron may be milder” meant that “we are seeing these giant waves not leading to those in need of the most serious care we may have seen in previous waves in cases but that is still putting a lot of pressure on the NHS ”. “.
The latest figures from NHS England show there were 14,210 patients in hospital with Covid-19 as of January 3rd, including 777 who needed mechanical ventilation.
Downing Street insisted that England’s Plan B measures remain the right approach despite tighter restrictions in other parts of the UK.
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