PRESSURE on NHS staff in the North East is ‘unsafe’ and ‘unsustainable’, according to the British Medical Association in a letter to the region’s MPs.

Doctors and healthcare workers are operating under ‘unprecedented pressure’ the union is political representatives to lobby the Government and hospital trusts to make important changes.

It comes as the number of Covid-related hospital admissions in the North East are rapidly increasing.

Chairman of the North East region Dr George Rae is calling for better Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline staff, Covid hubs to keep staff and patients safe and greater rest facilities for staff.

Dr Rae warns that PPE in the region is still inadequate to ensure the safety of NHS frontline staff.

He said: “I am writing on behalf of all doctors in the region.

“Having consulted with representatives of various medical grades and specialities, there is

collective concern across the profession that service pressures are currently unsafe and


“We believe that there are steps the Government and the NHS in England could and should take

to assist with reducing this burden.

“In order to properly protect NHS staff and by virtue protect NHS services, enhanced masks should be provided across all care settings.”

Doctors in the North East also warn that the lack of adequate rest facilities has significantly impacted the wellbeing of healthcare workers throughout the pandemic without suitable areas for breaks.

The letter reads: “Lack of adequate facilities has an impact on doctors’ wellbeing, with social distancing adding additional pressures.

“There are examples of junior doctors across our region having no designated desk space.”

The Northern Echo:

Easington MP Grahame Morris MP

Easington MP Grahame Morris MP said urgent action was needed.

He said: “I thank the BMA regional council for their letter and for ringing the alarm bell that unsustainable pressures on the NHS is compromising patient and staff safety.

“I am shocked that two years into the Covid crisis, all NHS staff do not have access to appropriate PPE, and that work and rest facilities for staff are woefully inadequate.

“We need urgent action from the highest levels of Government to assess the concerns highlighted by the BMA and I have written to health ministers.”

Read more: North East MPs share views over Downing Street lockdown party

Durham City MP Mary Kelly Foy said the BMA, as representatives of doctors across the North East, is well placed to advise how medical settings can be improved to support staff and ensure that conditions are as safe as possible.

She said: “Higher grade personal protective equipment and the creation of Covid hubs are common sense measures that could reduce transmission and staff absences.

“Alongside this, if staff burnout is to be addressed and retention improved, it’s crucial that staff have access to adequate rest facilities at work.

“While their commitment to caring for the public may have made them seem like superheroes over the last year, doctors are only human and if the Government doesn’t look after them then they will lose them.”

Darlington MP Peter Gibson said he regularly engages with Darlington Memorial Hospital as it responds to the pandemic.

Mr Gibson said: “The team at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust have done an incredible job and the current figures supplied to me recently show encouraging signs.

“I am not aware of PPE issues in Darlington, having only spoken to the Chief Executive on Wednesday.

“I stand ready to raise a shortage of PPE with ministers if this is the case, just as I did extensively in the early stages of the pandemic.”

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