He explained that “10,000 more colleagues across the NHS were absent each day last week compared with the previous seven days and almost half of all absences are now down to Covid.”
Statistics show that more than 80,000 staff were absent each day on average, up from 71,000 last week, a 13% rise. On average, 36,000 of those absences were down to Covid, up from 25,000 the week before. Almost half of staff absences are due to covid (44%), up from 36% last week – a rise of more than a fifth (22%).
“While we don’t know the full scale of the potential impact this new strain will have it’s clear it spreads more easily and, as a result, Covid cases in hospitals are the highest they’ve been since February last year – piling even more pressure on hard working staff,” said Stephen Powis.
He added that those staff are “stepping up as they always do; answering a quarter more 111 calls last week than the week before, dealing with an increasing number of ambulance call outs, and working closely with colleagues in social care to get people out of hospital safely.
“You can help us to help you by ensuring you are vaccinated against Covid.
“And as has been the case throughout the pandemic, if you have a health problem, please go to 111 online and call 999 when it is a life-threatening condition – the NHS is here for you.”
The NHS answered almost 80,000 more 111 calls this week than the week before, a rise of more than a quarter. And almost 50,000 more calls than the previous high this winter (336,000 w/e 19 December). The NHS is recruiting 1,000 more 111 call handlers to deal with the increase.
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