Coronavirus behind more than half of NHS staff absences at King’s Mill and Mansfield hospitals

Coronavirus was the reason behind more than half of NHS staff absences at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust as the new year began, figures show.

Troops are getting ready to support the NHS through the current wave of Covid-19, as staff absences due to the virus have risen by 59 per cent nationally in seven days.

NHS England data shows 510 staff at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs Sutton’s King’s Mill, Mansfield Community and Newark hospitals – were off sick on January 2, the latest date for which data is available.

Of them, 274, 54 per cent, were off because they had Covid-19, or were self-isolating due to the virus.

Prof Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, says rising Covid-19 cases are 'piling even more pressure' on hospital trust workers.

This was an increase of more than double on a week before, when 135 Covid-related absences were recorded.

Rob Simcox, trust deputy human resources director, previously said: “We do have a number of colleagues either isolating or off sick with Covid-19.

“However, we have plans in place to help mitigate any absence and ensure safe staffing levels are maintained.

“Our hospitals are under pressure and we continue to ask our community to think carefully about which NHS services they use.

“If you are unsure, visit NHS 111 online and they will direct you to the best place for your care.

“We also encourage everyone eligible to book a booster vaccine.”

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Across England, the number of NHS staff off work due to Covid increased from 24,600 on December 26, to 39,100 on January 2 - meaning about one in 25 NHS staff working in acute hospital trusts are off for Covid-related reasons.

The Army said it could offer assistance to more hospitals around the UK if needed, after 40 military medics and 160 general duty personnel were drafted in to help fill gaps caused by absences of NHS staff in London.

Prof Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said rising Covid-19 cases were ‘piling even more pressure’ on hospital staff.

He said: “Omicron means more patients to treat and fewer staff to treat them.

“While we don’t know the full scale of the potential impact this new strain will have, it’s clear it spreads more easily and, as a result, Covid cases in hospitals are the highest they’ve been since February last year – piling even more pressure on hard-working staff.”

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