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Hull Royal Infirmary’s plan for surge in Covid cases – details in leaked email sent to NHS staff

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Hull hospitals are bracing for a surge in Covid-19 cases as the Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly across the country.

Staff at the Hull University Teaching Hospitals (HUTH) NHS Trust received an email on Monday planning an increase in admissions as daily new Covid infections across the UK exceed 90,000 per day.

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Omicron has already caused a surge in hospital admissions in the south of England, and now the Hull Trust, which runs Castle Hill Hospital and Hull Royal Infimary, anticipates that the city’s hospitals will start to face a similar situation in the coming days.

Hull hospital chiefs have issued a new guide to prepare for the eventuality; This includes five sections, from tips on vaccines and social distancing to ensuring staff shifts are filled at all times.

Planning for an increase in cases

The trust has informed staff that it is reviewing its increase plans in preparation for an increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations.

Measures put in place to prepare for the increase include the cancellation of all non-urgent surgeries starting in January.

This includes suspending elective non-urgent surgery once again.

The email reads: “The situation with Covid-19 infections is extremely dire.



All non-urgent surgeries will be canceled at Hull Royal Infirmary (pictured) and Castle Hull Hospital starting in the New Year
All non-urgent surgeries will be canceled at Hull Royal Infirmary (pictured) and Castle Hull Hospital starting in the New Year

“Omicron is spreading rapidly across the country. We are seeing new infections daily at more than 90,000 a day.

“More people are going to get sick with this virus and it is up to us to do everything we can to minimize the risks.”

“We know that Omicron is having an impact on hospital admissions in the South of England and we anticipate that we will start to see more and more people showing up at our hospitals in the coming days.

“Consequently, we are looking at our increase plans and planning for this eventuality.

“The Silver and Gold command structures are now back in place and decisions will be made to protect the critical pathway for the patient.

“The next few weeks will be challenging, but we’ve been here before, we’ve learned a lot over the past two years, and we have talented people and teams that will respond.

“It is certainly not easy and I know colleagues are tired, but together we can meet this challenge once again.”

Staffing and shift review

Bosses have also urged managers to consider an increase in staff absences over the next few weeks, as well as admissions, and have asked that rotations take care of this.

Managers have been urged to “think outside the box” while developing contingency plans to ensure shifts can be filled at all times.



Non-essential staff trainings and meetings will be canceled with immediate effect.
Non-essential staff trainings and meetings will be canceled with immediate effect.

Social distancing and use of masks

Staff members planning to attend large gatherings over the Christmas and New Years period have been advised to remain “vigilant” so that services can be provided “at all times.”

All non-essential trainings and non-essential meetings will be canceled with immediate effect and the email indicates that the trust requires “all staff members to attend work, as long as it is safe to do so.”

Staff support

The trust is launching additional support for the well-being of its workers, including counseling, training and mentoring.

Starting in early January, the trust will also provide free lunches, tea and coffee to its staff.

Staff vaccinations

Employees have also been advised to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so and if they have, to put on boosters.

“Two doses of vaccine are not as effective against Omicron as we expected and we know that having the booster is the best way to increase its resistance to the new strain,” the email says.

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