Covid: East of England NHS under extreme pressure, medical boss says

A MEDICAL director said the NHS was “under extreme pressure” due to Omicron reports the BBC.

Dr Sean O’Kelly, regional medical director for the East of England, said “a significant number of staff” were either isolating or had contracted Covid and were unable to work.

He said the NHS was “working very hard to deal with extraordinary circumstances” but was not overwhelmed.

“Everything will be done to make sure patients remain safe,” he said.

Dr O’Kelly acknowledged some staff were being asked to work in other departments to help ease the pressure.

Recently, the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust’s chief nurse said in an email to staff that they would not be held accountable for issues linked to staff shortages.

Chief nurse Giles Thorpe wrote: “I am confirming to you that you will not be held professionally or individually accountable for any omission of patient care which is linked to issues that are not in your control, including reduced staffing levels or a reduced skills mix.

“Please do not worry.”

Dr O’Kelly said the message was “reassuring staff” that in “extraordinary times” the professional regulators will do what they can to help and understand the circumstances they are working in.

He urged people to get vaccinated and book their boosters to help ease the pressure on the NHS.

“Getting vaccinated is probably the single most effective thing that we can do to relive the pressure on the NHS and staff and to help us get it back to a more normal state,” he said.

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