Hundreds of NHS staff in Bucks off with flu over Christmas in lead up to critical incident

A critical incident was declared by Buckinghamshire NHS Trust on 30 December
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Hundreds of members of the Buckinghamshire NHS Trust were off with flu-like symptoms in the lead up to Christmas.

On Friday (30 December), Buckinghamshire NHS Trust declared a ‘critical incident’ citing services being overwhelmed throughout the county.

Emphasis was placed on issues faced by staff at Stoke Mandeville Hospital where resources were stretched to their limits.

Stoke Mandeville HospitalStoke Mandeville Hospital
Stoke Mandeville Hospital

New data shows that between 19 December and Christmas Day 281 members of staff were off on average at facilities under the trust’s management.

Dozens of trusts across the UK declared critical incidents in December, linked to existing issues within the healthcare system.

Health bodies are calling on the Government to act as delays and problems with urgent and emergency care are stopping people from receiving critical treatment across the country.

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Nationally, 63,296 workers were off sick each day, according to new NHS Digital figures.

This represented an increase of 4% across NHS hospitals from the prior week.

In Buckinghamshire sick figures actually declined, between 12 to 18 December on average 292 staff members were off.

Figures do not state the reason for staff sickness, but do denote that 13% of all absences in the UK were due to Covid.

Health officials have called on the Government to declare a national major incident.

Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive of NHS Providers has compared the issues hospitals are facing up and down the country as being the “equivalent” to the overwhelming pressures placed on them during the pandemic.

A lack of investment, worn-out staff following an unprecedentedly tough few years, lack of funding, and a growing backlog of cases were all listed as reasons for the current issues.

While a critical incident was declared in Bucks, the South East region had the second fewest number of absentees.

In total, 7,192 members of staff missed work with a sickness on average in the South East.

While in the Midlands 13,509 hospital workers were missing on average that week.

Manchester University Hospital recorded the highest number of staff members missing on average during the time period.

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