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NHS workers are 'demoralised' and staff shortages caused by Covid cases are now closing hospital beds, nurse warns

NHS workers are “demoralised” and staff shortages caused by Covid-19 cases are now closing some hospital beds, a nurse in self-isolation has warned.

The nurse, who works in north-east England and wishes to remain anonymous, said staff have been redeployed to fill gaps in other departments at her hospital “for months” due to staff coronavirus cases, but the situation has “acutely” worsened in recent weeks.

She is set to spend Christmas alone in isolation after testing positive herself.

“I work in surgery and we’ve had to cover other surgical specialities and take on medicine patients too,” she said.

“The staffing has got acutely worse in the last few weeks … All of the wards are short-staffed at all times, some have had to shut beds.”

The nurse added that staff have been “demoralised” by a lack of government action and poor Covid compliance from some members of the public.

She said that morale was “not helped by Boris [Johnson] and the lack of restrictions to control the outbreak.

“The government message on masks and distancing should be clearer.

“When you’ve got hospital visitors who won’t keep a mask on for an hour visit and have to go to supermarkets where so many are unmasked because ‘it’s uncomfortable’, it’s really demoralising when we’ve been trying to keep people safe for two years.”

But she added: “Really the worst is feeling super guilty that work are even shorter because I’m [Covid] positive.”

Her comments come after hospital bosses contacted trusts last week to encourage them to “consider contingency options for significant staff absences,” and called for the recruitment of volunteers to help tackle shortages.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid hit out today at people who have chosen not to be vaccinated, saying they “take up hospital beds” that could have been used for other patients. 

He criticised those who are eligible for a jab but have decided not to take up the offer, saying such people are having a “damaging impact” on others.

NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard and medical director Professor Stephen Powis told trusts to “use their staff flexibly to manage the most urgent priorities” and to ensure that workers are trained so they can be redeployed if necessary.

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