UK Government Told to ‘Wake Up’ as Omicron Wave Exacerbates Health Staffing Crisis

Omicron Variant
Omicron Variant

Plans to clear a record 5.8 million patient backlog in the National Health Service (NHS) triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic could fail unless the government “wakes up” and addresses the staffing crisis in the emergency care sector, a report from a British parliamentary committee warned on Thursday.

“Far from tackling the backlog, the NHS will be able to deliver little more than day to day firefighting unless the Government wakes up to the scale of the staffing crisis facing the NHS, and urgently develops a long-term plan to fix the issue,” the chair of the cross-party Health and Social Care Select Committee, Jeremy Hunt, was quoted as saying.

The Conservative lawmaker said that the current surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant is “exacerbating” the problem, but noted that the staffing crisis in the health sector comes from a long time ago, “with a burnt-out workforce, 93,000 NHS vacancies and no sign of any plan to address this.”

The report calls for a broad national healthcare recovery plan, embracing emergency care, mental health, general practitioners, community and social care.

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