Staff sickness at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has doubled as Omicron levels soar

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Blackpool Victoria Hospital says a doubling of staff sickness levels, worryingly long waits in the emergency department and problems with safely discharging patients were key reasons for declaring an emergency incident there this week.

 

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

And Dr Jim Gardner, Medical Director at the hospital trust, says the fact that community Omicron infection numbers in Blackpool and the Fylde coast have risen rapidly in the space of two weeks has also been a factor.

He said a week before Christmas the number in Blackpool was 800 per 100,000 people, but the latest figure had risen to 2,015 per 100,000.

The latest figure for Fylde was 1,853 and for Wyre it was 1,174.

Staff sickness levels within the hospital were at 12 per cent when the normal rate was five per cent, he revealed.

Dr Gardner said: “The numbers around Covid are very interesting because we have seen this extraordinary rise of infection levels with the Omicron variant.

“These numbers are rising very rapidly and are reflecting the community numbers, doubling essentially in a week.”

He said there were 116 in-patients who were Covid positive within 14 days of their first positive test, including 91 in general beds and 21 at Clifton.

In the last two weeks there have been five Covid-related deaths within the hospital, taking the total up to 908 since the pandemic began.

However, he insisted that the hospital was still open for business and said people with urgent health care needs should still visit the Vic’s accident and emergency department, adding: “That is what we’re there for.”