Multiple hospitals declare critical incidents as nurses call for more Covid restrictions 1 week ago

Multiple hospitals declare critical incidents as nurses call for more Covid restrictions

NHS staff absences in England due to Covid doubled in the two weeks to Boxing Day

Multiple hospitals have reportedly declared critical incidents amid rising pressures and staff shortages caused by Covid.

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In a letter to Sajid Javid, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the NHS was in a "state of crisis" and can "ill afford" the current level of absences, Sky News reported.

The RCN called for the Health Secretary to take a "more cautious approach" to Covid "without further delay".

NHS staff absences in England due to coronavirus doubled in the two weeks to Boxing Day, the union said.

Officials have not confirmed how many hospitals have declared critical incidents.

The RCN letter came as a further 157,758 coronavirus cases and 42 Covid-related deaths were recorded in the latest 24-hour period, official figures show.

According to Sky News, the union also questioned the "confusing and concerning" differences in coronavirus measures in the different UK nations and raised "significant concerns" about staffing plans for the new "Nightingale surge hubs".

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The hubs are set to look after people who are not well enough to go home but need minimal supervision during their Covid recovery.

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"It is confusing and concerning that the different UK governments have set out their own different rules and regulations in relation to the management of the pandemic," the RCN wrote.

"Nursing professionals are questioning the level and nature of the variation between governments."

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The RCN urged ministers to introduce "a more cautious approach for England without further delay", saying this was supported by "high levels of staff absence due to Covid-19".

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup told Sky News that Plan B measures are "working" and "I don't see no reason why we need to change".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted that pressure on the NHS is likely to last for weeks.