NHS chiefs have asked family members to discharge Covid-positive loved ones from hospital as services buckle under pressure.
Health services across England are struggling to cope with an enormous care backlog and staff absences as a result of Covid with multiple NHS trusts this week raising the alarm or declaring critical incidents.
Last night the chief medial officer for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight issued a plea for the relatives of patients well enough to be discharged to come and collect them immediately even if they were covid-positive, the Guardian first reported.
“With staff sickness rates well above average, rising cases of Covid-19 and very high numbers of people needing treatment, we face a perfect storm – but there are some very specific ways in which people can help the frontline NHS and care teams,” said Dr Derek Sandeman, of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight care system.
Sandeman revealed that hospitals across the region are full up with 650 Covid-19 patients being cared for in hospital – more than double the number of patients compared to early January. At the same time, some 2,800 NHS staff are off sick, with half the absences resulting from Covid-19.
Six hospitals in Yorkshire have issued a warning for people to stay away from emergency departments unless their condition is life threatening after waiting times reached 12 hours. The South Central Ambulance Service, which covers 7m Brits, has declared a critical incident and is prioritising patients with only the most serious conditions.