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Rise in sickness amongst Lynn hospital staff as Covid-19 pressures intensify

todayJanuary 6, 2021 5

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One in 10 staff are currently off sick at Lynn’s hospital which is adding to the challenges of winter and Covid-19.

But bosses have emphasised a wide-range of support measures are in place for Queen Elizabeth Hospital staff to help cope with the intense pressures they are currently facing.

The hospital’s chief operating officer has described the New Year Bank Holiday weekend as “hugely challenging” for the Trust.

A video circulated on social media showing high demand at the QEH over the weekend, but bosses have described as a "snapshot in time" rather than being a constant reality. Picture: Courtney McCurry
A video circulated on social media showing high demand at the QEH over the weekend, but bosses have described as a “snapshot in time” rather than being a constant reality. Picture: Courtney McCurry

Staff sickness is currently running at 11 per cent, which is more than double the usual rate of four to five per cent at this time of the year, bosses have said.

It is understood the rate of sickness has plateaued at the Gayton Road site since Christmas with 163 Covid-19 patients recorded on Monday.

Denise Smith, chief operating officer at the hospital said: “We have tried and tested measures in place to help us to manage winter pressures and demand.

“We ask each member of our local community to play your part and continue to follow the rules by washing your hands regularly, following social distancing rules, and wearing a face mask.”

The hospital is currently vaccinating between 300 to 450 people a day with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

And Mrs Smith reminded the community there are a range of services available including calling NHS 111 if you need urgent care, speaking to a GP for non-urgent or ongoing concerns, and using a local pharmacist for medication and advice.

Regarding the support in place for staff at this testing time, she added: “Our staff are working incredibly hard to ensure the delivery of safe and compassionate care for our patients.

“We have invested in a wide-range of support for our staff, recognising the present pressures, including dedicated clinical psychologist and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) posts, staff helplines, mental health first aiders and 24/7 rest areas in addition to a range of listening forums so we can listen to and quickly respond to any concerns.”

The hospital is having to deal with limited bed capacity due to social distancing, which is exacerbating pressures.

A national traffic light system is currently being used for the hospital with green wards being low risk, amber medium risk and red high risk.

A video of ambulances lined up outside the hospital circulated on social media on Sunday but deputy chief executive Laura Skaife-Knight described this a “snapshot in time”, with more ambulances seen at the site compared to other times.

A total of 202 patients have died at the hospital due to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic according to the latest figures.

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