The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson for some time now over his stance around NHS staffing levels. The view has now been reinforced with the news that troops are being deployed to London hospitals as the NHS grapples with staff shortages.
Around 200 military personnel, medics and general assistants, have been sent in to the hospitals to help doctors and nurses with patient care and to fill gaps in other critical non-medical areas.
Patricia Marquis, the RCN’s Director for England, said: “The prime minister and others can no longer be dismissive of questions about the ability of NHS staff to deliver safe care.
“Once the military has been brought in, where does the government turn next in a bid to ‘ride out’ the wave rather than deal with it?”
Some 17 hospital trusts in England have declared critical incidents, signalling fears that patients safety is being put at risk with their ability to deliver priority services compromised.
According to the Ministry of Defence the 200 military personnel will be “on task” for three weeks in addition to the 32 military co-responders provided to support the South Central Ambulance Service.
The 200 troops employed to London hospitals is in addition to around 1,800 service personnel are already deployed across the UK to support the civil authorities in their response to the pandemic.
They include 313 personnel assisting the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust and 96 with the Scottish Ambulance Service, while more than 1,000 are helping the vaccine booster programme.
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