Dozens of hospital staff off work in Omicron outbreak

Almost 100 members of staff in east London hospitals are off work as COVID cases continue to rise in the capital.

The highly contagious Omicron variant has caused a massive rise in cases across London, forcing thousands to self-isolate.

Healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic have also been affected.

In two hospitals run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust (BHRUT), 97 doctors, nurses and other staff were off work because of COVID.

The trust runs the King George Hospital in Goodmayes and Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

Fifty-six staff were confirmed to have COVID and another 41 were self-isolating.

This was an increase of 45 staff off work in the space of a week.

Decreased staff numbers as COVID cases continue to rise will increase the pressure on NHS services, although COVID hospital admissions remain relatively low.

Chief executive of BHRUT Matthew Trainer recently said that operations may have to be cancelled if the two hospitals have a shortage of beds for patients.

There are currently 91 patients with COVID in the King George and Queen’s hospitals – 13 are being treated in critical care.

This means that BHRUT’s critical care beds are almost full at 97.74 per cent capacity.

With COVID cases continuing to rise, it is highly likely that more room in the two hospitals will have to be given up for critical care patients.

There are now 140,000 COVID cases in London after an increase of over 500 per cent across the capital.

BHRUT was contacted for comment.

Alastair Lockhart

Local Democracy Reporter