Covid absences put pressure on England’s hospitals and Djokovic thanks supporters

We’ve been hearing a lot about the pressures on the NHS due to rising Covid cases and staff absences. Now, new figures from NHS England show the number of staff off sick due to the virus at England’s hospitals trebled from the start of December as Omicron took hold. Nearly 36,000 workers (roughly 4%) were off each day in the week ending 2 January. It is a rise of 41% on the previous week and treble the 11,957 absences seen at the beginning of the Omicron wave in the week ending 5 December. Factoring in other staff sickness absence the total is 9% – almost double the norm for this time of year. Patricia Marquis, from the Royal College of Nursing, warns growing absences meant the situation was “simply not safe”.

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