Current healthcare stress has already led some organisations to report
serious incidents as staffing levels are below minimum and flu and Covid-19
rate warnings rocket.
The developments also come as further strike action is planned for nurses
and ambulance staff in the coming weeks, as debate continues over a wage
premium for 2022-23, with many nurses getting a £1,400 pay rise.
Meanwhile, reports suggest NHS staff may be eligible for another wage
premium below inflation in 2023-24. This week, unions and health leaders
renewed calls for the government to start negotiating pay and support NHS
staff at this particularly challenging time.
Separately, government figures (last updated on 22 December 2022) show that
more than 7,100 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised in England in the past 7
The NHS Federation, the NHS membership orginisation, has
reported instances of oxygen cylinders temporarily empty and patients waiting
for beds for more than two days.
NHS Federation chief executive, Matthew Taylor, said there were also
instances where ward staff are now below minimum levels.
Health care leaders are telling us that the pressure on their workforce has
become overwhelming, he said.
It is likely that there will be more serious events to report over the next three
months and will affect the quality of care.
Figures from NHS England show that by the end of November 2022, 3,746
people with flu were hospitalised every day. Of those in the hospital, 267 are in
intensive care beds.
In stark contrast, at the end of December 2021, there were only 34 flu patients
in hospitals, two of whom were in intensive care.
Thousands of NHS staff have also been affected by the disease this winter, with
figures showing the average number of days away from work due to staff
illness is more than 60,500 by the end of December 2022.