Omicron surge floods the NHS and transforms hospital staff canteen into makeshift unit

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As the Omicron surge hits the NHS, a hospital canteen is being transformed into a temporary medical ward.

Fifty beds are being installed in the staff canteen and physio gyms at the Royal Preston Hospital as the North West becomes the country’s Covid hotspot.

In Lancashire, a 700-bed hospital has also begun to build a Nightingale hub. It is located in a carpark and can accommodate 100 more patients.

It is one of eight Nightingale centers that are being set up in England to handle rising infections.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals announced that it had closed its Charters Canteen “to allow us to prepare the space for potential use by patients if the Omicron variant results in the need for additional surge beds”.

It also included: “We are also looking at other potential space including our physio gyms and in total around 50 beds could be provided by using such space.”

The announcement by the Ministry of Defence that 200 military personnel would be deployed to London’s NHS was the catalyst for this move.

They were expected to be on duty for three weeks. There were 40 teams of five that they dispatched, each consisting of one medic, four general duties personnel, and two other medical personnel.

Rising Covid cases have led to at least 24 NHS trusts declaring critical incidents. However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps attempted to claim that such pressure was today. “not entirely unusual”.

NHS leaders warned Boris Johnson ’s claims the NHS is not being overwhelmed “will not chime with the experience of staff”.

Boris Johnson refused to give a definition for the NHS being overwhelmed at Tuesday’s Downing Street press conference, but he acknowledged that some trusts may feel overwhelmed. “temporarily overwhelmed”.

New analysis confirms that some parts of the Health Service are currently overwhelmed. This is despite the Government’s calls to provide an independent definition.

The Mirror was written by the Institute for Public Policy Research. It states that a clear measure must be set based on staff absence rates, bed occupancy and patient outcomes.

Sky News interviewed Mr Shapps “There are 137 trusts, there are 24 which are critical, it’s not entirely unusual for hospitals to go critical over the winter with things like the flu pandemic.

“But there are very real pressures which I absolutely recognise.”

Minimum of two dozen NHS trusts declared critical incidents in order to notify partner organizations. “patients may have been harmed or the environment is not safe”.

At a board meeting, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHMN), heard that the trust expects to declare a “critical incident”Within days.

Today’s data confirms that the North West, North East and Midlands now have the most severe regional outbreaks in England.

Royal Stoke and County Hospitals in Stafford are experiencing staff absence levels around 30% and approximately 20 elective procedures being cancelled each day.

Paul Bytheway, chief operating officer at University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHMN) told Wednesday’s monthly board meeting: “We’re not at that point yet where we need to do that. But it will probably come in the next week, and we all need to be mindful of that.

“Once we get to that point there will be standing down of diagnostics, either because we need the staff, or because staff are sick and not able to deliver.”

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust East Midlands stated that it had 100% occupancy.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, stated: “The Prime Minister’s attempts to reassure the public that the NHS is not being overwhelmed will not chime with the experience of staff working in some parts of the NHS.

“The Government now needs to do all it can to mobilise more staff and other resources for the NHS to get through this extremely challenging period.”

Today’s positive test results were 179.756 more and there were 231 additional Covid deaths within the first 28 days.

Recent testing data from the UK Health Security Agency revealed that Covid rates were highest in the North West followed by the North East.

Hospital visits have been halted by four hospital trusts: Co Durham, Darlington and Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland and Sunderland, North Tees, Hartlepool, and South Tyneside.

Colin Cox, Cumbria’s director of public and family health, stated: “It is touch and go that North Cumbria will declare Level 4, which is the highest level.

“This is due to staffing problems and increased demand.”

The number of cases in Cumbria by Copeland for the week ending January 1 was 3,076 per 100,000, an increase of 130% over the previous week.

This was the highest infection rate in England. Barrow was second with 3,024 infections per 100,000 residents – an increase of 94%

This is because at least 17 hospitals in the North West have stopped performing non-urgent operations and treatments due to Omicron cases that are on the rise and staff absences.

Chris Thomas, senior researcher at the Institute for Public Policy Research stated: “This litany is indicative of an NHS unravelling across the country.

“The consequence will be unnecessary death and disease – while the Government maintain a stubborn state of denial.

“That is why we need the Government to set out a clear, statutory definition for what an ‘overwhelmed’ NHS looks like.

“Only by doing this can we objectively judge the situation facing the NHS and ensure appropriate action is taken.

“It’s farcical that a Government minister can declare on one day that the NHS isn’t overwhelmed – and a day later, an NHS trust be forced to tell a patient with a possible heart attack to ‘get a lift’ into hospital, rather than wait for an ambulance.”

New data shows that less than half the adults living in large cities in England have received a Covid-19 booster.

The third dose was taken by over-18s at 49% in Liverpool, 46% in Birmingham, 46% in Birmingham, 46% in Manchester, and 42% in Nottingham as of January 2.

Newham in London is the local authority in England with the lowest take-up of booster and third doses among all adults (38.5%), followed by the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets (38.6%), Barking & Dagenham (39.2%) and Westminster (40.3%).

Professor Martin Marshall of the Royal College of GPs said that communication is essential for the public. “the pressure that general practice is under and explain why it isn’t possible to provide the service, the access and the quality of care that we would expect and want to be able to provide”.

New data from King’s College London ZOE COVID Study looking at people with symptomatic Covid suggests cases in England may have flatlined with a R of 1.

However, cases are rising fast in the Midlands and Wales as well as in northern England.

Dr Claire Steves, of King’s, said: “Data shows that this slow down is being driven by cases falling in London and in younger age groups.

“However it’s worrying to see cases increasing in the over 75 age group. This is the group we need to protect as they are the most likely to be hospitalised.

“It’s too early to know if cases have truly peaked in London, as schools are yet to reopen after the holidays.

“The health and care systems are already under huge pressure, so we all need to take personal responsibility for limiting the spread of Covid.”

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