The number of total staff absences in the NHS in England has increased by 10 percent to almost 460,000 nurses, doctors and healthcare assistants off work.

It comes as NHS England said it will continue its “jingle jab” campaign to administer Covid vaccines over the Christmas weekend. 

It is planning to do this in town halls, pharmacies and other spaces big enough to allow social distancing while administering vaccines.

The Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, thanked NHS staff and volunteers for giving up time with family and friends to ensure the successful rollout of the Covid-19 booster. 

NHS staff absences

However, almost 70,000 NHS staff have been absent every day across England over  the last two weeks due to Covid-19. 

In London, the crisis is particularly acute, with Covid-related staff absences up 122 per cent.

NHS figures show the number of days lost due Covid staff absence across England increased by 38 percent last week compared to the week before ( it was up from 90,277 to 124,855).

Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor said: “The latest data from the frontline of the NHS show that the spread of Omicron is causing a double emergency for NHS capacity, as both hospitalisations climb and as rapidly rising numbers of Covid-positive staff have to self-isolate.”


“Wear masks and take a booster”

He stopped short of asking the public to stay at home but said people must wear masks indoors and take a booster if it is available to them.

He also asked the government needed to acknowledge the impact the virus was having on the NHS, as it might affect its capacity to continue to take care of the nation. 

He said:  “It is vital that the Government assiduously monitors not just rises in Covid cases and hospitalisations across the general population, but also regional developments and the impact Omicron is having on the capacity of the NHS workforce.






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Feyaza Khan has been a journalist for more than 20 years in print and broadcast. Her special interests include neurodiversity in the workplace, tech, diversity, trauma and wellbeing.