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NHS services continue to work under extreme and increasing pressure

Statement from the NHS across the North East and North Cumbria

Neil Halford, Medical director for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “GP practices, ambulance services and hospital trusts across the North East and North Cumbria continue to work under extreme and increasing pressure. This is due to rising staff absence levels due to sickness and the need for staff to self-isolate, increasing numbers of patients being admitted with Covid-19 and dealing with usual winter pressures.

“Our services and hospitals are doing all they can to manage these pressures and to minimise any impact the best they can. To continue to protect hospital staff and patients, visiting restrictions are being maintained or strengthened and people should check individual trust websites to find out the latest position.

“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. 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.

“GP practices have done and continue to do a phenomenal job, with the added pressure of helping to deliver one of the largest vaccination programmes in the history of the NHS. Demand for their services is very high and they too are having to deal with increasing staff absences. To support GP practices people should please consider if a pharmacist can help deal with their health need or give advice in the first instance. They can also use the practice’s online consultation option which can be found on practice websites and NHS 111 online is a comprehensive and trusted source for healthcare advice.

“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. The best way to support your NHS is by getting vaccinated, washing your hands regularly, wearing masks and keeping rooms ventilated when you do mix with family and friends.

“The NHS is here to care for people and people should not delay seeking medical advice and help if they need it, but we ask them to think carefully about which service they access. Our Emergency Departments (A&E) need to focus on treating patients with life threatening conditions.  If we all do our bit, we can reduce hospital admissions and prevent our loved ones from becoming ill. Also, please respect and be kind to our colleagues working across the NHS and in social care.”

Background information

North East and North Cumbria (NENC) statistics:

  • As at 3 January 2022, we had 646 patients in hospitals with Covid-19 – this is 8% of hospital beds across NENC
  • The number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 has increased by 137% since 24 December 2021
  • As at 2 January 2022, hospital workforce sickness due to Covid-19 has increased from 1.7% to 4% since 24 December 2021 – that is a 135% increase  

North East and Yorkshire statistics as at 10.50am on Tuesday 4 January from the North of England critical care network:

  • Currently 32 Covid-19 patients in adult critical care
  • 15 of these patients are ventilated
  • Currently 141 non-Covid-19 patients in critical care


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