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Government should 'declare national NHS major incident' as service under same strain as first wave of Covid

The government should declare a national NHS major incident to rescue the healthcare system from the current crisis, a senior health official says.

Dr Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine (SAM), says that the pressures on the NHS seen over the festive period are not new. He added that a number of recommendations had been outlined since the pandemic that offer the “best hope” of a short-term solution.

Declaring a national NHS major incident would mean all four UK nations would co-ordinate their response and allocate resources to help meet the overwhelming demand for care that is enveloping many hospitals around the country. Taking that step would help combat the current situation, Dr Cooksley says, which NHS chiefs believe is having a similar effect on the service to the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The current situation in urgent and emergency care is shocking. It is in a critical state for patients and it is an extremely difficult for healthcare staff who are unable to deliver the care they want to," Dr Cooksley said. “Political leaders across the UK need to listen, meet urgently and accept the need to declare a national NHS major incident.

"The outcome must be a four-nation emergency strategy which results in short-term stabilisation, medium-term improvement and long-term growth – the grave situation we are in means it will be a long journey. Sustainable workforce and capacity plans are required urgently to boost morale among staff and patients – as we have long called for – and we now need to see action.”

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Source: Manchester Evening News, 1 January 2022


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