New figures show exactly how Milton Keynes hospital is coping during Omicron surge
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New figures from the NHS show dozens of patients were kept waiting in ambulances at MK Hospital.
But the figures also show the hospital has plenty of critical care beds available, with an occupancy of 77%.
However, staff absences are high due to the Covid surge and they seem to be increasing week on week.
The period researched is the six days between December 13 and December 19, when Covid case numbers were rising rapidly throughout the borough.
During that time MK hospital had seven or eight adult critical care beds occupied but 10 still available.
Some 452 patients arrived at the hospital by ambulance during those six days. For 59 of them, handover was delayed by between 30 and 90 minutes delayed. Fifteen patients had to wait longer than 80 minutes.
Meanwhile, over the same week, the hospital was coping with up to 250 staff absences each day. The average number of staff off on any one day was 231. This sickness rate was up 17% from the previous week.
National figures from December 13 to 18 show there were 65,305 hospital staff off, with absences for Covid-related reasons increasing by a huge 38% from the previous week.
Government statistics show there are currently 34 Covid patients in Milton Keynes hospital and none of them is requiring a ventilator.
NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “The NHS is on a war footing and staff are taking the fight to omicron, by boosting hundreds of thousands of people each day, treating thousands of seriously ill covid patients and delivering urgent care for other conditions, all while seeing a worrying, high and rising increase in absence due to Covid.
“We are once again ramping up to deal with the rise in Covid infections, and quite rightly staff are making every possible preparation for the uncertain challenges of omicron, including recruiting thousands of nurses and reservists, but while we’ll leave no stone unturned to get the NHS battle ready, it remains the case that the best way to protect yourself and others is to follow guidance and to come forward and get your first, second and booster jabs.”