Military deployed at London hospitals due to Omicron staff shortages

The Guardian

By Denis Campbell, Dan Sabbagh and Hannah Devlin
NHS chiefs welcomed the help from the military but said the need for it demonstrated how serious the health service’s staffing problem is. Photograph: MoD/Crown Copyright/PA

The armed forces are being deployed to help hospitals in London deal with a surge in Covid patients because the Omicron variant is leaving so many staff sick and unable to work.

Of the 200 military personnel involved, 40 are doctors who will help NHS staff look after patients. The other 160 personnel, who have no medical training, will check in patients, ensure stocks are maintained and would also be “conducting basic checks”, the Ministry of Defence said.

Some have already started work and they are expected to support the NHS in the capital until the end of the month.

The announcement comes two days after Boris Johnson said he hopes England can “ride out” the current wave of Covid-19 without further restrictions, but did acknowledge parts of the NHS would feel “temporarily overwhelmed” by Omicron.

Health union leaders, although grateful for the help, have said this latest move means the government can no longer be “dismissive” of concerns about “delivering safe care”.

Publish : 2022-01-07 14:30:00

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