Nine unions representing frontline health care workers have joined together to point out the impact of increasing COVID-19 cases on the staff providing care, and to urge the public to do all they can to protect the NHS.
COVID-19 patients make up about 24% of all patients currently in hospital. This compares with about 18% at the end of May when we were at the peak of the pandemic.
In addition, the RCN has written to the Minister for Health and Social Services and all Chief Executives of the health boards and trusts to make sure that they have robust processes in place, using professional nursing advice, for making decisions to suspend non-essential elective services in order to deal with COVID-19 pressures. This was done during the first wave of the pandemic in Wales. No one wants to make these decisions, but it may be necessary to save lives.
Nicky Hughes, RCN Wales’ Associate Director of Nursing (Employment Relations), said: “Our challenging year has just become worse. We need immediate action from the Welsh Government and the general public. Our nursing staff were the first in line to go above and beyond to deal with this pandemic. They came out of retirement, retrained and redeployed to other clinical areas, even halted their studies to care for patients. They gladly did this selflessly and without additional reward.
Nine months into this pandemic and our members are exhausted, stressed and nearing burnout. Every day they tell us they feel that they have nothing left to give and feel devalued. This has been a long, tedious, difficult year and we still have some way to go into 2021 in controlling this terrible virus.
I implore our decision-makers to make clear, concise decisions around guidance and I personally ask the public to please adhere to the rules. It is important now more than ever. We all want the best health for ourselves and our family and friends. Years from now I hope that future generations will look back and be thankful for our efforts.”
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