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Newcastle hospitals under pressure with ‘significant absences’ as staff told to self-isolate UK News

Newcastle hospitals are forced to face “significant absences” due to the number of people being asked to self-isolate.

It is understood that hundreds of employees at the Royal Victoria Infirmary and Freeman Hospital have been unable to work in the past two weeks due to Covid-19 – either by contracting the virus or because of they or their children have been ordered to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who has done so.

There has been a huge increase in alerts sent by the NHS Covid-19 app, causing problems for organizations and businesses across the country as infections rise and more workers are ordered to stay home.

Read more:The five regions of England with the highest increase in Covid – including three in the North East

The government said the app is under review and could be changed so that fewer users are “pinged” now that lockdowns ease and vaccine rollout continues, while people have been asked not to ignore or delete the app.

It comes as case rates in the North East continue to rise, with our region now being the coronavirus hotspot in England and the infection rate in Newcastle reaching over 800 per 100,000 people according to the latest data released. by the city council.

The spike in cases has largely been among young people and as such has yet to cause a massive spike in hospitalizations.

But the number of Covid patients currently being treated in Newcastle hospitals has risen to 39, including six requiring mechanical ventilation.

In a blog post on Friday, Newcastle Hospitals Managing Director Dame Jackie Daniel warned that the number of emergency room patients is also at “unprecedented levels” and that the situation is made worse by the number of staff in the hospital. personnel needing to self-isolate.

Dame Jackie Daniel

She said: “I think we had all been hoping that things might start to feel a little better, day by day, as we move towards ending the acute impact of the pandemic and begin to establish our new. normality. This has not turned out to be the case, and over the past fifteen weeks we have witnessed a further increase in Covid-19 cases in the North East.

“We currently have 39 Covid patients in our hospitals, and that number continues to increase. Fortunately, it is becoming clear that the vaccination schedule makes a difference in the severity of the infections we see. Hospital admissions here have increased less rapidly than in previous waves, but it is striking that we still have people with severe Covid disease in our intensive care units.

“Our emergency departments remain at unprecedented levels in adult and children’s wards and everyone is working hard to tackle our backlog of elective activities so patients don’t have to wait any longer. as needed. I know that areas such as our cancer directorate, children’s hospital, transplantation and maternity services are also exceptionally busy.

“On top of that, and due to the wider openness of the company, many staff have been contacted through the NHS Covid-19 app to let them know that they may have been in contact with someone being tested. positive for Covid-19. This created significant absences and therefore pressure on all our teams across the organization. “

She also thanked the staff who had “been flexible enough to work in different departments and departments to support colleagues and patients, others have worked with lower staffing levels than we would like.”

But Dame Jackie added that the problems “are unlikely to be resolved quickly and we will have to continue asking people to be flexible over the next few weeks.”

The Hospitals Trust declined to confirm the number of staff members currently absent.

A spokesperson said: “Inevitably, the growing number of coronavirus cases in the community has, in turn, had an impact on our workforce, as more and more people have to self-isolate after receiving notifications of the NHS Covid-19 application or for other reasons such as caring for children isolated from school.

“As we enter another very busy time our main concern is to protect everyone and we ask people to continue to support the NHS by following simple things like increased hand washing, wearing masks and vaccination.”

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