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NHS staff fear speaking out over crisis in English hospitals


Nine months ago, Boris Johnson praised staff at St Thomas’ for saving his life. Now, a senior intensive care nurse at the London hospital has warned that patient care is being compromised because of staff shortages and a failure to plan for the second Covid wave.

Dave Carr, an intensive care charge nurse, is one of many NHS workers desperate for the public to know what is going on inside their hospitals at a time when misinformation and scepticism about the virus are rife.

“The public needs to be aware of what’s happening. This is worse than the first wave; we have more patients than we had in the first wave and these patients are as sick as they were in the first wave. Obviously, we’ve got additional treatments that we can use now, but patients are still dying, and they will die,” said Carr.

As a representative for the union Unite, Carr feels emboldened to speak out. But across the NHS, many more staff claim they have been threatened with disciplinary action or even dismissal if they put their head above the parapet.

In Devon, one nurse working on a Covid ward said safety standards had slipped at her hospital, but she feared for her job if she was identified by name. “The infection control restrictions are more relaxed. Before, we had to use a separate entrance but now we don’t, and some doctors feel they don’t have to obey the infection control protocols and are still unsure of how to properly remove the PPE,” she said.

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Source: The Guardian, 1 January 2021

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