Health trust which treated PM for coronavirus ‘dangerous understaffed’, says union

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The NHS intensive care unit, which helped save Boris Johnson’s life after contracting the coronavirus, is deemed dangerous, according to a report.

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Unite said a survey of its members at the Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust in London found that chronic shortages in the unit led to low morale and concerns about patient safety.

The union warned its “shocking” findings in the trust – which treated the prime minister for Covid-19 in April 2020 – may well show up in other NHS trusts in England.


It is also estimated that 116 qualified intensive care unit nurses left critical care in the past seven months and not all were replaced.

Unite Secretary General Sharon Graham said: “These results are shocking and very disturbing for our NHS members. They are total professionals but the lack of these chronic staff means they struggle to deliver the care they are dedicated to, so morale plummets.

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“The alarm bells have started ringing in the government and healthcare. This should be resolved before the busy winter period as safe staffing is central to proper patient care. “

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognize the critical role nurses play during the pandemic, and are committed to supporting the workforce to grow to cope with the backlog.

“There are more than 9,900 nurses in the NHS compared to last year and we will be delivering 50,000 more by the end of this parliament.

“We have supported the NHS with an additional £5.4 billion to support the COVID-19 response over the next six months, and we are investing £37 million towards the wellbeing of the staff.”

Unite’s survey of 188 critical care staff, both nurses and technical, found that 93 percent reported being short staffed every shift in their unit, 100 percent affected by understanding staff well-being, and 98 percent. Said he felt mindlessness had made his unit unsafe.

Additional reporting by the Press Association


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