Hospital boss praises staff dealing with ‘perfect storm’

Hospital staff in Newcastle have been praised by the head of their NHS trust for the way they are coping with exceptional demand (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Archive)
11:19am, Fri 23 Jul 2021
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The boss of a major hospital trust has said it is dealing with a “perfect storm” of high numbers of Covid patients, staff infections in the community and unprecedented urgent care demand.

Chief executive Dame Jackie Daniel said Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is facing “exceptional pressures” affecting every part of its operation, 18 months into the pandemic.

She said the trust is currently caring for around 80 Covid patients in hospital and non-urgent surgery has had to be postponed.

The trust has not asked staff to cancel leave but managers will ask if people can be flexible with time off, she said, and enhanced overtime has been authorised for patient-facing carers.

In her fortnightly blog, Dame Jackie said: “We are going through the ‘perfect storm’ of high numbers of Covid patients in hospital, high Covid infections in the community which is affecting staff and our families, unprecedented levels of urgent and emergency demand and peak holiday season, all of which comes after 18 months of exhausting work.”

She said staff have described the workload as “relentless”, and she acknowledged they cannot offer patients the high level of care they aspire to.

Dame Jackie wrote: “It’s a place that none of us want to be.

“Several people have said to me that it feels more difficult now than it did at the height of the first wave of the pandemic.”

But she said staff are pulling together and supporting each other.

She added: “Although the next few weeks will continue to be hard, we will get through this together.

“It’s important to say that as an executive team and board we are focussed on doing everything we can to help and you have our complete support.

“We appreciate that the situation we find ourselves in is exceptional and we understand that the best efforts we can give as a team are just sometimes not enough to meet all of the demands placed upon us at the moment.”

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