NHS faces ‘Darkest Hour’

Dozens of hospitals are now on the brink of disaster with COVID-19. The NHS faces its darkest hour and it seems the Government is paralysed by inaction.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Woolwich, southeast London, was forced to turn away some emergency patients on Sunday, 27th December 2020, amid concerns about the availability of oxygen used to treat them.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is the latest London hospital to declare a major incident in the past 10 days as the rate of new Covid-19 infections surge and hospital admissions increase.

In a statement issued on Monday evening the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said:

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

“As you may have heard in the media, we declared an internal incident at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) on Sunday 27 December as a precautionary step due to the high number of Covid-positive patients we are seeing at the hospital. We have been following our plan to cope with a second wave of Covid-19 and are working closely with hospital and healthcare partners in south east London.

All our patients have received the treatment they need, including intensive care treatment for Covid-19 and oxygen therapy as required. We are continuing to monitor the situation to ensure that this remains the case.”

Cllr Alan Hall has joined NHS campaigners by asking that Matt Hancock,MP, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to return to Parliament and present plans to deal with the COVID-19 crisis immediately.

NHS staff have continued to work throughout the Christmas period as things have taken a dramatic turn for the worse.

“COVID-19 hasn’t slowed down, healthcare workers haven’t slowed down, that’s why we are asking politicians to recognise this and return to work.” says Dr Julia Patterson

Earlier, the British Medical Association’s Chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “It’s hugely important that frontline healthcare and social care workers are given every opportunity to get the vaccine. In the first phase of the pandemic, significant numbers of healthcare workers became seriously ill and many losing their lives to the virus.

This led to scores of frontline staff being risk-assessed in terms of their vulnerability to the infection and so the BMA fully supports the [JCVI] Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommendation that healthcare workers at highest risk from the virus should be given priority to be vaccinated.”

The full text of the letter is below:

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

From: Cllr Alan Hall

For months now EveryDoctor has been sounding the alarm about the risk of this situation arising. Now the NHS faces its darkest hour and it seems the Government is paralysed by inaction.

The NHS has endured its toughest year; where over 640 healthcare workers, our friends and colleagues, have lost their lives to COVID-19. There are approximately 100,000 NHS staff vacancies and many workers off sick with COVID-19 and its longer-term consequences. Yet still we fight on. Still we care for every single patient that comes through our doors. We need your support. And since previous requests and warnings have fallen on deaf ears, we are compelled to make stronger demands for your immediate support now.

Dozens of hospitals are now on the brink of disaster with COVID-19. We will not tolerate further frontline healthcare and social care worker deaths. We’re asking that you to return to Parliament and present your plans to deal with this immediately.

We ask that you consider the following:

  1. With COVID-19 now circulating widely in our population and many UK hospitals on the brink of declaring major incidents, you must change the prioritisation for the vaccine rollout; all frontline healthcare and social care workers must be prioritised immediately.
  2. All healthcare workers working closely with patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should receive their first dose within 14 days of the policy being enforced.
  3. We need an urgent plan from the Government to gain control of the virus and quickly reduce the number of new cases. We also need the urgent reintroduction of mandatory shielding in order to safeguard lives and preserve healthcare resources.

NHS staff have continued to work throughout the Christmas period, to serve the nation as things have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. COVID-19 hasn’t slowed down, healthcare workers haven’t slowed down, and we must ask that you recognise this and return to work yourselves.

We need Parliament to return with utmost urgency in order to help us fight this deadly surge before it’s too late.

Please recall Parliament immediately in a virtual sitting and present a viable plan urgently.

We await your reply,

Cllr Alan Hall

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