Northamptonshire declares countywide major incident due to Covid staff shortages

7 January 2022, 13:04 | Updated: 7 January 2022, 13:41

Northamptonshire has declared a major incident over staff shortages.
Northamptonshire has declared a major incident over staff shortages. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

A countywide major incident has been declared in Northamptonshire, with hospitals, care homes and emergency services subject to a shortage of staff.

It follows increased demand because of coronavirus, Northamptonshire Police said.

Northamptonshire Local Resilience Forum, which is made up of NHS organisations, local authorities, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and Northamptonshire Police, issued the alert due to "rising demand on services and staffing levels".

Declaring a major incident allows greater cooperation between health and public services to "co-ordinate activity to help continuity of essential services and help to manage and plan for sustained pressure caused by Covid-19 on staffing levels", the forum said.

Chairman of the forum, chief fire officer Darren Dovey, said declaring the incident is a "necessary step" to make sure we are able to "share resources where necessary".

He said this is increasingly important as more staff need to self-isolate.

Read more: Troops deployed to London hospitals amid Omicron crisis but numbers are 'encouraging'

Read more: Over a million people to be dragged into higher tax bands despite cost of living squeeze

Toby Sanders, chief executive of NHS Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We would like to reassure our community that urgent services and time-critical procedures will continue, and we will contact anyone whose treatment is delayed - rebooking appointments once affected services can safely be reinstated.

"Our community can help us help them by ensuring they are seeking help from the most appropriate health services, and only visiting A&E for serious accidents and emergencies. If you are unwell, visit NHS 111 online for 24/7 advice about the most appropriate care for your needs."

The major incident comes as troops are being deployed in London to support the NHS amid growing staff shortages due to Covid-19.

Around 200 armed forces personnel are being made available to hospitals across the capital, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

Read more: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tests positive for Covid-19 again

Meanwhile, in Wales, the First Minister has denied the NHS has been "overwhelmed" by the Omicron variant.

Giving an update on the Covid situation, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: "I don't think it would be right to describe it as being overwhelmed but the health service in Wales is quite certainly having to deal with the very real impact of coronavirus - both in the way it is driving more people to fall ill and then to need hospital treatment but the fact staff in the health service are themselves falling ill from the Omicron wave.

"Health boards are having to make difficult decisions, such as in maternity services, to concentrate the staff they have available in fewer places so that a service can go on to be provided.

"Not overwhelmed but quite certainly facing very challenging circumstances."