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NHS Grampian bosses preparing for ‘major incident’ amid Covid pressures

NHS Grampian bosses say the number of Covid patients in hospital and levels of staff sickness are close to allow them to declare a major incident. Picture by Kenny Elrick.

Bosses at NHS Grampian have warned they may need to declare a “major incident” next week amid an “exponential” rise in Covid cases.

Numbers are expected to soar further over the coming days as the Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly.

As of yesterday, there were 75 patients in NHS Grampian hospitals, including six in intensive care, and almost 1,400 new cases.

Data from the last two weeks suggests these figures will continue to grow – placing “even more significant pressure” on the health service, hospitals and staff.

‘Triggers could be met next week’

Health chiefs have a series of criteria they have to meet in order to declare a major incident.

These “key trigger points” include the likes of the number of Covid patients in hospital and levels of staff sickness as a result of the coronavirus.

A rescue helicopter leaving Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, as NHS Grampian bosses say they may need to declare a major emergency
NHS Grampian chiefs say the criteria for declaring a major emergency could be met early next week. Picture by Kami Thomson.

Declaring a major incident will allow NHS Grampian to take special measures to cope.

Full details are not yet available, but it is estimated the period will last for 30 days.

The staff briefing notes: “What this means for staff will be explained in a major incident plan that will be available next week.

“It will include how staff may be affected with regards to deployment, non-critical clinical and non-clinical activity and changes in service capacity.

“The plan will also outline how staff will be supported throughout the major incident.”

Once the major incident is stood down, NHS Grampian bosses say activities and practice can resume as normal.

Help from military

Last month the Scottish Government approved a plea from NHS Grampian for support from the military during this time.

A total of 38 personnel are now starting work across the north-east to assist the health board.

Military arrive at ARI to help NHS Grampian. Pictured - Medics and nurses from HM Forces that have been depolyed to ARI, NHS Grampian. Picture by Kami Thomson / DCT Media 07-01-2022`
Medics and nurses have been deployed to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Picture by Kami Thomson.

Twenty-three arrived this morning, with the remaining 15 to join next week.

Overall there are more than 80 medics helping Scotland’s health boards, and a further 100 assisting the ambulance service.

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