COVID-19 pressure on the NHS and health system prompts ‘major incident’ declaration by Essex Resilience Forum

Mick Ferris

In response to a significant growing demand on hospitals and health and social care services across Essex, and particularly Mid and South Essex due to coronavirus, the Essex Resilience Forum (ERF) has declared a ‘major incident’ – enabling the county to seek further support from Government to address the pressures.

Local leaders from the ERF – a group that comprises the NHS, blue light responders and local authorities – say the pressures are being felt primarily in NHS and local authority services and are associated with critical care and bed capacity, staff sickness/self-isolation levels and the system’s ability to discharge patients quickly into safe environments.

Today, the number of patients in Essex receiving treatment for coronavirus increased to levels which have exceeded those seen at the peak of the first wave of the virus in the Spring. These levels are likely to increase further in the coming days.

Anthony McKeever, Executive Lead for Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership, said: “We are taking every action possible within the NHS and across the wider health and social care partnerships in Essex to limit the impact on the NHS and the wider health system.

“This involves using critical care capacity elsewhere in Essex and the Eastern region and identifying additional locations and capacity to assist with the discharging of patients to reduce pressure on hospitals.

“Our strong working relationships mean we are able to respond effectively to support our local communities.

“I would also like to pay tribute to all those hard-working colleagues who are working tirelessly to support our communities across the system. They are all doing an amazing job in extremely difficult circumstances.”

Chief Constable of Essex Police and Co-Chair of the Essex Local Resilience Forum, BJ Harrington, said: “Declaring a major incident enables us to seek further support from the Government to address the severe pressures which the health system is under because of COVID-19.

“The people of Essex have been magnificent and are only dialling 999 or attending A&E in an emergency – we need this to continue because this will help protect the very limited capacity available at our hospitals.

“Please stay safe; work from home if possible, follow the social distancing rules, and only travel if absolutely necessary.”


Mick Ferris

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