COVID-19 absences are decimating healthcare workforce in Mid-Ulster

By JOSH FARRELL

As the Omicron variant continues to spread across the country and cases of COVID-19 continue to surge, hospitals in Mid-Ulster are tackling an increasingly turbulent Winter period and while much has rightly been made of the number of patients filling hospitals, the number of hospital staff currently unable to work due to COVID-19 is also a very real and pressing concern.

While Omicron appears to be less effective in causing hospitalisations than the previously dominant Delta variant, its highly contagious nature has resulted in huge numbers of positive cases across the country, having a massive impact on workforces in all industries, perhaps none more so than the healthcare sector.

Figures provided by the Northern Health Trust, which takes in the Cookstown and Magherafelt areas, reveal that from Friday 7th January, 647 members of staff were absent for COVID-19 related reasons. This number, coupled with the 651 staff members absent for non-COVID-19 related reasons means that 11% of the Northern Trust workforce are unable to work at the moment, having a massive impact on healthcare services in the Mid-Ulster area.

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