Chief Medical Officers of Health warn of tough times ahead amid praise for health services

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UK Chief Medical Officers of Health (CMOs) praised health service staff who worked on the front lines during the pandemic as they warned of “multiple challenges” and “great pressure” from the Omicron variant in the coming year.

They said they were “well aware” that their “tireless work” to deal with the pandemic over the past two years has been difficult for the profession.

They added that the work of health workers has “dramatically reduced the impact of this pandemic on the lives of the British public”, but the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus, as well as the Delta version which has already struck, means that the profession will continue to be tested.

Nurses caring for Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south-west London (Victoria Jones / PA)

In a joint statement online, the Marketing Directors said: “Your tireless work has dramatically reduced the impact of this pandemic on the lives of the British public.

“We are well aware of the toll this has taken on many members of the profession, and the support that colleagues have continued to give to each other through difficult times has been essential.

“The collective effort on behalf of our patients and the general public has been remarkable.

“We were all hoping that Covid would be less dominant across healthcare services as the new year approaches, but the Omicron variant is clearly going to put a lot of pressure on healthcare and all healthcare professionals.

“We can all see the worrying number of people infected with Omicron increasing very rapidly, some of whom will fall seriously ill and require medical attention.

“This is in addition to existing Delta patients, the backlog of work from the previous wave of Covid, normal health services work and other winter pressures.”

NHS England figures show 1,904 people were hospitalized in London with Covid-19 as of December 21, the highest number since March 2 and up 41% from the previous week.

Across England, 6,902 patients were hospitalized with Covid-19 on December 21 – the highest number since November 10 and up 7% week-over-week.

The CMOs described the vaccination, and the booster shots in particular, as the best countermeasure against Omicron and praised the entire primary and secondary care medical profession for the “quick and efficient” way they were working. to deal with this new threat.

They added: “Faced with the multiple challenges of 2022, we would like to reiterate our unwavering confidence in the profession and our unwavering thanks. “

In a personal note introducing the post, England CMO Professor Chris Whitty added: “After a very difficult year for the healthcare system, UK CMOs wish to express our constant thanks and great pride to the professions of health. health across the country.

“We face even more difficult weeks ahead. Take care of each other as we continue to care for the public. “

In another note, Dr Gregor Smith, Scottish CMO, said: “It is difficult to adequately describe my pride in my colleagues or the gratitude I feel in them. I know all UK marketing managers feel the same way.

“Please continue to watch and support each other in the difficult weeks ahead. You have our unwavering confidence and our unwavering thanks.

The British Medical Association union previously noted that the deployment of the booster will affect routine services and challenged the Prime Minister to keep his pledge of government support for the NHS.

In September, Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS suppliers, called the challenges the NHS faces as winter approaches “intimidating”.

She said, “Trusts are grappling with record waiting lists in hospital, mental health and community services. Bed capacity is lower due to continued strengthening of infection control measures.

“Staffing levels and burnout continue to be a major concern for many trusts. “


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