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West Suffolk frontline staff and health planners praised for Omicron fight

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Health staff and planners have been praised for their work in combating the Omicron variant of Covid-19 at a meeting of NHS bosses.

The West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG) meeting today was its first of 2022 - and, as the governing board had not convened since November last year, the impact of the Omicron outbreak made for a major topic of discussion.

Paul Gibara, the CCG's director of performance for Suffolk and north-east Essex, provided an analysis of pandemic conditions in West Suffolk.

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds (54519609)
West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds (54519609)

Some matters of concerns were raised, including the issue of outbreaks at care homes and pressure on hospitals.

However, Mr Gibara stressed that the picture was positive overall, with West Suffolk weathering the challenges of Covid better than some neighbouring health authority areas.

Elective operations have been cancelled, although it was emphasised that this phenomenon is not totally pandemic-related, with winter pressures also playing their part.

Mr Gibara said: "Across the system, as of January 30, we have something like 187 Covid-positive patients.

"To be clear, those are not admissions, those are patients with Covid in hospitals.

"I think the issue here is not necessarily the number of Covid patient admissions, it is the operational difficulty that causes our acute providers."

He added: "I'm glad to say that the numbers appear to be decreasing - we're finally seeing some green shoots.

"We're starting to see some early signs of that pressure easing, but it is early signs at the moment."