Healthcare is in crisis as up to 1,000 workers are off sick every day, new figures suggest

  • The number of NHS workers off sick rises by nearly 1,000 a day, figures suggest 
  • Some 18,829 NHS staff at acute trusts were absent due to Covid on December 19 
  • This is up from 12,240 a week earlier, as hospital bosses try to plug staffing holes

Hospital bosses are desperately trying to plug staffing holes as the number of NHS workers off sick rises by nearly 1,000 a day, figures suggest.

Some 18,829 NHS staff at acute trusts were absent due to Covid on December 19 – up from 12,240 a week earlier.

This equates to around 941 extra staff calling in sick or isolating per day in between – putting further strain on the already stretched NHS.

Hospital bosses are desperately trying to plug staffing holes as the number of NHS workers off sick rises by nearly 1,000 a day, figures suggest (file photo used)

London is the worst hit, with Covid absence at Barts Health NHS Trust surging from 91 to 338 within seven days.

Its medical director Alistair Chesser said: ‘We have plans in place to redeploy staff in the coming weeks should we need to.’

London’s Imperial College Healthcare has also had to ask staff to move to ‘challenged’ areas due to an absence rate of nearly 7 per cent.

And bosses at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals have warned they lag ‘about ten days behind London’ with staff sickness rising from 421 to 699 over seven days.

Patricia Marquis, of the Royal College of Nursing, said there was ‘much more’ trusts could do to protect staff from infection.

Some 18,829 NHS staff at acute trusts were absent due to Covid on December 19 – up from 12,240 a week earlier (file photo used)

She said: ‘Hospitals that were already short-staffed can ill-afford for soaring numbers to be away from work.

‘There is much more that hospital trusts and other employers can do to keep nursing and other staff protected from workplace infection, especially those caring for suspected or known patients with COVID-19.

‘Faced with growing staffing shortages and rising patient numbers in the coming days and weeks, difficult decisions will need to be made but we will not support any measures we consider to be detrimental to patient or professional safety.’

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