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COVID-19: 30,000 NHS staff off sick or self-isolating, warns NHS England chief

Absences affect care capacity and ‘underline need to reduce infection rate’ during lockdown

Absences affect care capacity and underline need to reduce infection rate during lockdown, says Sir Simon Stevens

About 30,000 NHS staff are self-isolating or off work due to COVID-19, according to NHS England’s chief executive.

Sir Simon Stevens said the numbers underlined the need to control the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health service and its capacity to offer care.

Staff absences underline need to control transmission rates

‘We’ve got about 30,000 NHS staff who are either off with coronavirus or having to self-isolate – that has an impact,’ he said.

‘Our success in controlling community transmission of coronavirus is a force multiplier to what the NHS itself can then provide in the way

Absences affect care capacity and underline need to reduce infection rate during lockdown, says Sir Simon Stevens

Woman looks out of her window while self-isolating
Picture: iStock

About 30,000 NHS staff are self-isolating or off work due to COVID-19, according to NHS England’s chief executive.

Sir Simon Stevens said the numbers underlined the need to control the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health service and its capacity to offer care.

Staff absences underline need to control transmission rates

‘We’ve got about 30,000 NHS staff who are either off with coronavirus or having to self-isolate – that has an impact,’ he said.

‘Our success in controlling community transmission of coronavirus is a force multiplier to what the NHS itself can then provide in the way of care.’

Sir Simon Stevens

Sir Simon made the comments at a Downing Street press conference on 5 November, where he was also asked if COVID-19 restrictions could last into the new year to help keep routine NHS services going.

‘This will be a function of how well we are collectively able to get the infection rate down over the course of the coming month,’ he said.

‘But what we’re doing in the NHS anyway is making sure we’ve got enough flexible facilities, that we’ve got as many nurses able to work as we can because when coronavirus takes off in the community NHS staff themselves are often affected or they have to self-isolate.’

Increased staff testing for all front-line staff will help with care capacity

Sir Simon’s comments come after he suggested that all patient-facing health service staff will soon be given routine COVID-19 tests.

He said new tests and increased capacity mean that testing for all front-line workers – regardless of whether they have symptoms – should begin within six to eight weeks.

Routine testing of NHS staff is already taking place in the areas that have been hardest hit by the virus.

Sir Simon said that, so far, 70,000 staff in those regions have been tested in recent weeks.


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