More than 12,000 NHS staff off sick in North East and Yorkshire - how your local hospital is affected

NHS Foundation Trusts in Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumbria and Tyneside are all included in the worrying data.

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More than 12,000 hospital staff in the North East are missing from work each day due to sickness, putting even more strain on an already struggling healthcare system.

In the seven days to December 25, an average of 12,299 were off sick across hospitals in the region - a considerable increase on the 11,917 staff absences recorded the week before. Nationally, a 4% increase in staff illness is being reported week-on-week.

The analysis comes as the NHS faces intense pressure “equivalent” to the Covid pandemic, according to a health official. Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive of NHS Providers, credited staff shortages, lack of investment, a worn-out workforce and a backlog of operations are all contributing to the pressure, as well as Covid and flu cases. The government has been urged to declare a national major incident.

In the immediate area around Tyneside, it is The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that is most affected with 1,090 daily staff absences at the end of December.

There is also an average of 702 absences recorded at the South Tyneside And Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, 528 at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and 291 at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust.

In recent weeks, NewastleWorld has seen how patients in the North East and Cumbria missed 778,000 GP appointments in 2022 and heard an urgent plea for emergency services to ask locals only to use 999 in true emergencies as resources are stretched.

NHS staff shortages are being compounded by sickness (image: Adobe Stock)NHS staff shortages are being compounded by sickness (image: Adobe Stock)
NHS staff shortages are being compounded by sickness (image: Adobe Stock)

Rife flu this winter has also seen hospital beds filled and space at a premium. Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “Sadly, these latest flu numbers show our fears of a ‘twindemic’ have been realised, with cases up sevenfold in just a month and the continued impact of Covid hitting staff hard, with related absences up almost 50% on the end of November.

“As well as flu, the NHS continues to be under significant pressure, with high bed occupancy, more than 12,000 beds taken up by patients medically fit for discharge, and demand for the 111 service remaining high, so please do make the most of 111 online, and only call 999 or visit A&E in an emergency.

“It is clear this is no time to be complacent and the risk of serious illness is very real, so with nearly 350,000 available vaccination appointments next week it is important that everyone eligible comes forward and gets their Covid and flu jabs at the earliest opportunity.”