Doctors and frontline health service staff in Northern Ireland have expressed fear over the expected surge in COVID-19 admissions over the next few weeks.
The British Medical Association Northern Ireland said staff are expecting to “face pressures unlike any they have faced before.”
The number of new Covid-19 cases in the region has fallen today, with 640 new cases in the past 24 hours. Nineteen more people with Covid-19 have passed away.
A total of 823 Covid patients are recorded in local hospitals, including 65 in intensive care.
With admissions predicted to rise this week before levelling off, the head of the BMA in Northern Ireland Dr Tom Black said, “Many of our members are deeply worried about the coming weeks. We have already seen the health service come under pressure recently with calls for additional staff to voluntarily come into work, but is likely that over the next few weeks doctors will be asked to work in a new location or provide support to areas that are very overstretched. Many have already had planned annual leave cancelled.”
Dr Black added: “The pressure we are under at the minute is widespread and we are likely to see whole system issues over the next few weeks where it is not just one doctor or nurse struggling but the whole team who will be jointly facing challenges and trying to overcome obstacles.”