The army is deployed on the front lines of NHS hospitals in London, the first such deployment in England during this winter’s coronavirus wave, he said. strain the Omicron variant fills the health service as the number of hospitalizations increases.
About 40 defense medics and 160 other staff will provide support to hospitals across London over the next three weeks, the defense ministry said on Friday. Some employees have already started their jobs.
The announcement of the deployment of military personnel to hospitals came after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that he would maintain a “voluntary” approach to vaccination against Covid-19, even as ministers investigated plans to tighten rules against those who did not receive medication.
Members of the UK Armed Forces supported the NHS in other roles during the pandemic, including the recent deployment as ambulance drivers and assistance at vaccine clinics. But this is the first time since last winter’s coronavirus wave that so many military personnel will be helping out in hospital wards.
The move comes despite signs of improving trends in the spread of coronavirus in London, the region first affected by the Omicron wave, while the rest of the country faced with an increase in infections and admission to the hospital.
In London, the number of Covid weekly incomes remained stagnant, with around 2,700 recorded last week. But hospitalizations in the rest of England rose 58 per cent, from 11,576 admitted in seven days to 4 January.
A senior NHS official told the FT that they expect other regions to “follow suit” by seeking military support in the weeks ahead. At least 24 NHS hospital funds – one-sixth of the total – have declared critical incidents due to staff absences.
Approximately one in 10 NHS workers in England was absent on New Year’s Day, according to official figures seen by the Sunday Times. Hospital staff absences due to Covid increased by 62 percent in the five days to December 31, with more than 40,000 staff being ill or in self-isolation.
“Again [the armed forces] they are stepping up assistance to NHS workers working day and night throughout the capital, helping health services through this difficult winter period in which there is the greatest need, ”said Sajid Javid, the British Minister for Health.
Speaking during a visit to a vaccination center in Northampton on Thursday, the British prime minister said the government would not adopt a “coercive” approach. some other European countries.
“I think it’s important that we have a voluntary approach in this country,” he told reporters. “I believe that things are done by everyone working together and recognizing the vital importance of vaccination. Other European countries are under duress. ”
Despite Johnson downplaying a tougher stance on vaccination, discussions within the government continue over whether rules should be tightened. This could include that some travelers arriving in England must show evidence of an intensified sting to avoid quarantine.
“We would consider it if we thought it was appropriate,” one government insider told the FT. Officials stressed that the discussions were at a preliminary stage and that changes to the travel rules were not “immediate”.
Ministers also discussed the possibility of denying access to large spaces to individuals who did not have a supplemental injection, as first reported in Time.
However, one government official said ministers remain reluctant to make any changes to Covid’s certification rules, especially in light of the Conservatives’ revolt against Plan B measures. last month.