Better-staffed NHS Scotland revealing few resilience issues

According to the Guardian, based on figures for England from the BMA, there are 46 000 NHS staff absent with Covid-19 ‘putting the health service in crisis.’

There were repeated headline warnings that the same ‘could’ happen in Scotland, only two weeks ago:

Staff absence rates are an objective measure of stress within a system like the NHS:

In the week to 5th January 2021, a total of 2 901 staff were absent due to Covid-19, down for a recent peak of 3 237 in the week to 17th November 2020.

In the same period, the number of Covid-19 patients in Scottish hospitals rose from 1 250 to 1 347 and is now 1 596. The number in ICU or combined ICU/HDU fell from 95 to 93 but has since climbed to 109.

England has 10 times the population but, if the Guardian report is accurate, around 15 times the NHS staff absence level.

The reasons are no doubt complex but fewer patients and more staff will be key.

4 thoughts on “Better-staffed NHS Scotland revealing few resilience issues

  1. My son has a friend who is a volunteer emergency ambulance medic in Scotland. He does say there are issues at the moment, due to staff absence mainly, I think indication being there are fewer Drs than is ideal. Might we have lost some due to Brexit?
    Hard to imagine why that situation would be worse than in England. They have drafted in retired staff to help out apparently. They have to be more careful about prioritising patients, but it doesn’t seem to be catastrophic, lets hope it stays that way. 😏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Talking about graphs: the one in the main article is interesting with the abrupt ‘discontinuity’ which occurs at week11. It is as if two graphs have been welded together. Was a change made at that time on the criteria for recording absences?


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