Almost half of NHS Trusts in England have reported risks classified as “significant” or “extreme”, with issues facing funding, buildings and failing equipment, according to an analysis by Labour.
Highlighting warnings of staff shortages and patient safety, the party demanded urgent action from the government to prepare the health service for the winter months as cases of COVID-19 accelerate across the country.
Labour said its study of 114 NHS Trusts’ risks registers showed that over three quarters of trusts logged a workforce risk.
The analysis also revealed that 66% reported a financial risk, 82% highlighted risks directly related to COVID-19 and 84% recorded a risk to patient safety. Almost half of Trusts (54), the party said, had outlined risks described as “significant” or “extreme”.
One hospital trust reported it was “not financially stable” beyond the current financial year while another recorded a potential risk to patient safety due to “structural deficiencies” in roof structure.
NHS hospitals are expected to consider risks to their operations and processes and when risks are identified, it is likely they will have been considered at board level and mitigations put in place.
Describing the registers – compiled between March and August - as “worrying” in a normal winter, Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said: “In the coming winter, with the incompetent handling of the test and trace system leaving the NHS wide open and poorly supported, they take on a whole new meaning."
"We urgently need a commitment from ministers to fix the problems with test and trace and a timetable by which these issues will finally be sorted. On top of this it is vital that ministers confirm that the NHS will get the additional support it needs to address these risks."
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Source: The Independent, 6 October 2020