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NHS workforce ‘could not cope’ with third wave

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The government has admitted the NHS in England does not have enough nurses and doctors to keep all its services running if there is a third spike in coronavirus cases as leaked figures show the number of staff off work because of the virus rising.

An analysis of the impact of coronavirus, released by Downing Street on Monday, warned that even with a 6% growth in NHS staff since August 2019 and extra funding “there is a trade-off between the NHS’s ability to deliver COVID-19 and non-Covid-19 care in the event that COVID-19 hospitalisations rise”.

It also warned of the psychological effects on staff saying: “It would be expected that higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) would be seen amongst health and social care staff.”

New leaked NHS data for England on Monday shows more than 82,000 NHS staff are absent from work with more than two-fifths, 42 per cent, linked to coronavirus either due to sickness or because they need to self-isolate.

This includes almost 27,000 nurses and 4,000 doctors absent from NHS wards.

Hospital leaders reiterated the strain the NHS was under in a briefing to MPs ahead of the vote on local tier restrictions today.

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Source: The Independent, 1 December 2020

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