Intended for healthcare professionals


Omicron: Urgent action needed on NHS staffing crisis

BMJ 2022; 376 doi: (Published 06 January 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;376:o18
  1. Layla McCay, director of policy
  1. NHS Confederation

We are now in a position where a small amount of extra pressure could be the final straw, writes Layla McCay

NHS leaders across the UK are currently looking nervously at London. The omicron wave that has (hopefully) plateaued in England’s capital city is building throughout the rest of the country, and everyone wants to know what to expect. There is no easy answer to that. Those who were looking at South Africa in the early days of omicron’s spread have recognised how hard it can be to compare such different populations. But closer to home, particularly in London, insight can be found from the massive number of people who have caught the omicron variant of covid-19 over the past few weeks.

So, what do we now know?

Thankfully the proportion of infected people who have thus far needed hospital care has been lower than with previous variants, and those admitted to hospital have tended to need less intensive care. But a small proportion of a massive number is still a lot of people. Cases rose by 50% …

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