Cambridgeshire hospitals busy and staff tired and abused
Hannah Brown Local Democracy Reporer
- Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Staff in Cambridgeshire’s hospitals are “tired” as the sites hit 100 per cent occupancy going into winter, health chiefs have said.
GPs similarly are experiencing “stress and tiredness” as well as abuse, a doctor said in a meeting about the current situation in the local NHS.
At a meeting of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Outbreak Engagement Board on Tuesday October 26, representatives from the health service discussed some of the issues currently being faced.
Jan Thomas, accountable officer at NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG, said the number of people with covid in hospital is rising, as well as general occupancy also being very high.
She said: “Addenbrooke’s is at 100 per cent occupancy, Peterborough is at 99 per cent occupancy, and Hinchingbrooke Hospital has a couple of percentage points just below 100 per cent, so it’s incredibly busy.
“Staff are not only unwell, but also there is a level of fatigue, which means that filling of additional shifts and people doing work on top of their usual work to support those times of surge is more difficult.”
Ms Thomas said the level of fatigue is recognised by the CCG and that work is being done to make sure staff “feel recognised” and that they are supported “as much as possible”.
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She added that it is not just hospitals that are facing this problem, explaining that her colleagues in mental health services have reported having the same problems.
Dr Gary Howsam, chair of the CCG’s Governing Body, told the meeting that GP surgery staff are also facing problems of stress and tiredness.
He said he wanted to highlight to the public that surgeries have remained open throughout the pandemic.
Dr Howsam said GP’s are currently seeing an increase in viral infections, not just Covid-19, which he said was expected at this time of year.
GP’s are also increasingly caring for people on waiting lists for hospital services, Dr Howsam said, which he explained is putting “increasing demand” on GPs.
In addition to this he highlighted the work being done by surgeries in the flu jab campaign, which he said this year is the biggest ever, and also highlighted that staff are facing “unacceptable” abuse while doing their jobs.
Dr Howsam said: “The level of abuse and challenge that is being directed towards all members of the general practice team is both worrying and really quite unacceptable.
“Everybody I know in general practice services, indeed all care and health services across the county, are working as hard as they can within the confined strains we are finding ourselves in at the moment.”
He added: “We’re also struggling with staff issues, we’re seeing staff away because of Covid-19 related issues, we’re also seeing staff away through stress and just general tiredness now.
“They have been working exceedingly hard for the last couple of years and we’re starting to see a level of attrition in our staff.
"And that’s not just clinical staff, that’s our admin staff and front of house staff who are equally as important to our operating capability.”
Councillors at the meeting expressed their “utter condemnation” at the abuse being received by NHS staff.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Richard Howitt said it was “utterly shocking” that staff at any level in the NHS were being subjected to abuse.
Councillor Susan van de Ven added that it is “bewildering” how things have changed from earlier in the pandemic when the public was ‘out clapping’ in support of health service staff.