NHS under ‘enormous pressure’ as UK faces ‘tidal wave’ of Omicron – ‘Critical moment’

Boris Johnson says Omicron to bring 'tidal wave' of cases

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On Sunday, the Prime Minister announced the target to offer every eligible adult a booster vaccine by the end of January would be brought forward by a month with the hope that everyone eligible aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their shot before the New Year. NHS Providers, the organisation for the NHS hospital, mental health, community and ambulance services said the announcement on Sunday is a “critical moment”.

It added that the NHS needs public support “now as much as ever”.

A spokesperson for NHS Providers told PA: “It is important that the Prime Minister recognises that this is an emergency.

“The threat from Omicron is becoming clearer, but there is an opportunity – through an accelerated booster campaign – to contain its impact.

“The NHS is already under enormous pressure, and scaling up in this way will be a huge challenge.

“But we have seen over the last 18 months, when it’s been tested as never before, how resilient and resourceful the health service and its staff can be.”

It added that “we will need to reprioritise” as the NHS is “already beyond full stretch”.

The spokesperson said: “As more hospital staff become involved in the vaccination campaign this is likely to impact on planned care, causing some additional delays.

“Patients will be prioritised according to clinical need, but trust leaders are only too aware of the impact of these difficult decisions.”

The comments come as the Prime Minister urged Brits to get a booster jab or risk another lockdown.

He warned: “Do not make the mistake of thinking Omicron can’t hurt you; can’t make you and your loved ones seriously ill.

“We’ve already seen hospitalisations doubling in a week in South Africa. And we have patients with Omicron in hospital here in the UK right now.”

He added: “To hit the pace we need, we’ll need to match the NHS’s best vaccination day yet – and then beat it day after day. This will require an extraordinary effort.

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“And as we focus on boosters and make this new target achievable, it will mean some other appointments will need to be postponed until the New Year.”

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