NHS staffing crisis now ‘dangerous’, former Health Secretary claims, as pressure grows on Boris Johnson over Omicron surge – The Yorkshire Post says

NEARLY two years after Boris Johnson’s life was saved by the NHS, the Prime Minister risks taking the nation’s doctors, nurses, paramedics, carers and ancillary workers for granted as a growing number of hospitals are forced to declare ‘critical incidents’ due to severe staffing shortages.

This should now be central to the Government’s latest decisions over the Covid pandemic. Though Ministers will not admit this, they are in a race against time to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed and other key services grinding to a halt as key workers self-isolate while some heart attack and stroke victims have to make their own way to hospital.

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And while the Omicron variant does not appear to be as lethal as the previous Delta strain thanks, in no small part, to the continued success of the vaccine programme, Mr Johnson cannot hide from the fact that the failure of successive governments to train sufficient medics is putting the nation’s health in further jeopardy.

Boris Johnson during a visit to a vaccination hub this week.Boris Johnson during a visit to a vaccination hub this week.
Boris Johnson during a visit to a vaccination hub this week.

Rather than using NHS staff and patients as ‘props’ for his visits to promote ‘booster’ jabs, Mr Johnson would be advised to spend more time incognito in hospitals seeing, at first hand, why the recruitment of medical staff needs to be accelerated urgently.

After all, this is so exercising Jeremy Hunt that Britain’s longest-serving Health Secretary warned Mr Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions that there are now “permanent and dangerous” staffing shortfalls in virtually every speciality.

Even though Mr Hunt, chair of Parliament’s cross-party Health Select Committee, needs to accept his share of responsibility, the fact that a politician of his standing used the word ‘dangerous’ is a warning that the Prime Minister must heed as Omicron case rates accelerate amongst the elderly, and most vulnerable, while the Cabinet keep current restrictions in place for at least three more weeks.

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