HEALTH bosses in the North East have warned of staff working under “extreme and increasing pressure” as it copes with the latest wave of Covid-19.

GP practices, ambulance services and hospital trusts are currently hit by shortages due to rising staff absence levels and the need to self-isolate. 

Increasing numbers of patients are being admitted with Covid-19 while staff also to deal with usual winter pressures. 

Neil Halford, medical director for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “Our services and hospitals are doing all they can to manage these pressures and to minimise any impact the best they can.”

Some planned operations and procedures have been cancelled as NHS trusts across the region have reintroduced visiting restrictions in a bid to protect hospital staff and patients, with only some exceptional visits allowed.

The Northern Echo:

These include: patients receiving end of life care, women in labour will be able to have one birthing partner, one parent or carer to accompany children in our emergency departments, children’s wards and neonatal units, and patients with dementia, a learning disability or autism and those who require a carer.

“All staff across the health system are working very hard to care for patients during what is a very difficult time and we thank each of them for their continued effort, flexibility and dedication,” Mr Halford added. 

“Hospital trusts are continually reviewing their planned operations and procedures alongside caring for the sickest patients and ensuring infection prevention control measures can be adhered to. 

“This a difficult balancing act and regrettably some planned operations and procedures may need to be postponed.”

The Northern Echo:

Many GP practices, which have helped deliver thousands of Covid-19 vaccines in the region, are also struggling with staff shortages. 

And the public have been urged to continue to get vaccinated and follow the appropriate health guidance to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Mr Halford added: “Our plea to the public is to please continue to look after each other and reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 among families, friends and in local communities. 

“Please respect and be kind to our colleagues working across the NHS and in social care.”

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