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The number of hospital staff off sick across Kent as a result of Covid


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More than 200 hospital staff across Kent are currently off sick as a result of Covid - 1% of the total workforce.

Absence rates across some parts of the country are leading to concerns about continued pressure on the NHS as Prime Minister Boris Johnson today warned staff shortages threatened standards of care in hospitals.

Concern continues about the pressures of Covid on NHS staff. Stock image
Concern continues about the pressures of Covid on NHS staff. Stock image

The Prime Minister made the comments as a hospital trust in Lincolnshire declared a 'critical incident' owing to the lack of staff resulting in 'compromised care'.

Mr Johnson warned that the Omicron variant continued to surge through the country adding: “I think we’ve got to recognise that the pressure on our NHS, on our hospitals, is going to be considerable in the course of the next couple of weeks, and maybe more.”

Absence rates for all types of sickness across the county's acute hospitals was just over 1,000, with 219 as a direct result of Covid or self-isolation.

Between them, acute hospital trusts covering Dartford and Gravesham; Medway; East Kent and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells employ more than 21,000 staff.

NHS data published on December 9 is not due to be updated until later this month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

New Covid-19 hospital admissions recorded for December 2, the last date official NHS data is available, was 22 patients for all of Kent's hospital trusts.

Mr Johnson warned it would be “absolute folly to say that this thing is all over now bar the shouting”.

His comments come as masks are set to return to post-Christmas classrooms for secondary school pupils and plans are being drawn up for possible absence levels of up to a quarter of public sector workers as Omicron continues to spread across the country.

The Cabinet Office said that although disruption caused by Omicron has so far been controlled in “most parts of the public sector”, leaders have been asked to test plans against “worst case scenarios” of 10%, 20% and 25% workforce absence rates.

The number of people testing positive across the UK was 157,758 today. Numbers per 100,000 in the UK are 1,525. The rate in Kent and Medway per 100,000 is 1,249 and 1,696 respectively.

A so-called 'surge hub' is planned for William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. Picture: Barry Goodwin
A so-called 'surge hub' is planned for William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Just days ago, the government unveiled plans for 'Nightingale' hospital units in its 'war footing' in the fight against Omicron.

One such facility is planned for Kent - in Ashford - capable of caring for 100 patients with coronavirus.

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