News

COVID-19: staff in eye of the storm ‘increasingly exhausted’

Trust chief nurse says rising inpatient numbers illustrate pressure on NHS colleagues

Trust chief nurse says rising inpatient numbers illustrate the pressure on NHS colleagues and resources

A senior nurse has said the health service is ‘truly in the eye of the storm’ as COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise.

Steve Hams, chief nurse and director at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the situation was becoming ‘increasingly challenging’, with figures showing England’s hospitals are now dealing with more COVID-19 patients than during the April peak of the first wave.

Trying to keep healthcare teams going is a challenge

Speaking on the BBC Breakfast programme on Tuesday, Professor Hams said that during the first spike in

Trust chief nurse says rising inpatient numbers illustrate the pressure on NHS colleagues and resources

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief nurse Steve Hams
speaking on the BBC Breakfast programme Picture: BBC

A senior nurse has said the health service is ‘truly in the eye of the storm’ as COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise.

Steve Hams, chief nurse and director at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the situation was becoming ‘increasingly challenging’, with figures showing England’s hospitals are now dealing with more COVID-19 patients than during the April peak of the first wave.

Trying to keep healthcare teams going is a challenge

Speaking on the BBC Breakfast programme on Tuesday, Professor Hams said that during the first spike in April, the trust had 60 COVID-19 patients, but currently has ‘200 (COVID-19) patients in our hospital beds, ten in critical care’.

‘We’ve had a 30% increase in the community transmission rate over the last week,’ he said.

‘We felt during April that there would be an end to this, but actually we’re now seeing a third peak, so trying to keep our colleagues and our teams going through this time is just incredibly difficult.

‘I think it is fair to say that I – like many of our colleagues across the country – am becoming increasingly exhausted.’

COVID-19 inpatient numbers higher than at peak of the first wave

Figures from NHS England show there were 20,426 patients with COVID-19 in NHS hospitals in England as of 8am on 28 December, compared with the 18,974 inpatient peak during the first wave, recorded on 12 April.

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens paid tribute to nurses and other health and social care staff in a new year message recorded at a vaccination centre.

‘Many of us have lost family, friends, colleagues and – at a time of year when we would normally be celebrating – a lot of people are understandably feeling anxious, frustrated and tired,’ he said.

‘And now again we are back in the eye of the storm with a second wave of coronavirus sweeping Europe and, indeed, this country.’

But the pandemic had shown that ‘sometimes the worst of circumstances bring out the best in people’, he added.

‘We have certainly seen that in my colleagues across the health service.’

RCNi’s well-being centre: podcasts, tips and resources


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Cancer Nursing Practice
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs