Internal critical incident at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds prompts call for government support from UNISON
One of the UK's largest trade unions has said government support is needed after West Suffolk Hospital declared an 'internal critical incident'.
Directors at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals in Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket, announced yesterday that they took the decision last week to help ease the pressures on their services.
Craig Black, interim chief executive, said they had taken 'a number of actions' in addition to normal working practices, including 'opening additional beds'.
A spokesman for the trust added that 6.5 per cent of staff are currently absent due to sickness, with 3.2 per cent off due to Covid-19.
UNISON has now stated that support from the government is needed to help curb the demand.
“It’s little surprise staffing levels have dived to the point of crisis. Staff have been wrung dry by the pandemic and have nothing left as Omicron surges," said UNISON's eastern head of health Sasha Savage.
“Many are covering the shifts of poorly colleagues and feeling guilty they can’t provide quality care to patients. Overwhelmed and exhausted staff are suffering panic attacks and feeling anxious they’ll catch Covid again. It’s all taking a toll.
“West Suffolk Hospital already had scores of vacancies before the Covid struck — the pandemic and poor government planning have upped the strain and now many staff have had enough.
“The solution lies outside Suffolk: the Prime Minister must invest to protect the NHS. An inflation-busting wage rise paid early in the new year would be a good start, helping convince staff they are valued enough to carry on.”