Hospital's help pledge to under pressure staff

More than one in twenty working days were lost by hospital workers in Hartlepool as the Omicron variant of coronavirus stretched health services to the limit, new data shows.

By Andrew Dowdeswell
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 1:35 pm
The University Hospital of Hartlepool.
The University Hospital of Hartlepool.

NHS Digital figures show 6.8% of working days for staff in the North Tees and Hartlepool Trust were lost in December 2021 – as absences in England reached close to their pandemic peak.

Other figures, also from NHS Digital, show that 7.67% of nurses and health visitors, 3.06% of doctors and 5.7% of midwives were absent.

This includes 1,432 days lost due to Covid-19.

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The Royal College of Nursing said overstretched workers are at breaking point, with many experienced nurses leaving the profession, while the British Medical Association has called on the Government to "focus on the protection and wellbeing" of the NHS workforce.

A Trust spokesperson said: “North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust works in close partnership with our colleagues on all areas of health and wellbeing.

“We have robust support services in place including access to psychological and occupational therapy support, new ‘Rainbow Room’ break out areas to take a rest from work, a bespoke staff-orientated health and wellbeing magazine, staff support networks and more."

They added: “We are proud of the resilience and commitment of our colleagues who, like the whole of the NHS, have been tested like never before throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”

NHS staff absences in England soared to 6.17% in December – with mental health reasons accounting for 23.7% of them.

Dr David Wrigley, council deputy chair at the BMA, said that the NHS faces an unprecedented staffing crisis without government action.

The BMA had called for greater Covid-19 testing, more PPE provision and more targeted public health measures across the country during the final quarter of last year.

Dr Wrigley added: “We need a focus on the protection and wellbeing of NHS workers, with a long-term national workforce strategy to grow the workforce and retain the experienced staff we have.”

The Department for Health and Social Care said it is supporting the health and wellbeing of NHS staff by providing targeted psychological support and treatment, occupational health sessions, and investment in "wellbeing conversations".