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HCSA would like thank all NHS and associate services for the continued drive to get ahead of the current challenges we face as a nation and reaffirm our support for NHS procurement teams that are having to operate under some of the most trying conditions in living memory.

National staffing shortages due to sickness and isolation requirements alongside a perceived lack of sufficient COVID tests in some regions has meant the most difficult period of the year for the NHS has been even more punishing this year.

Talking to our members over the last week we have heard of further regional disparities and very different challenges from North to South regarding the current state of play.

We have been informed of high levels of absence from Trust teams with some having to redeploy office-based staff to supply chain and materials management teams and procurement teams being asked to support clinical ward areas by making beds etc. Other Trusts are back to redeployment to maintain key services for the first time in 18 months due to the staff shortages.

Across the country, numerous Trusts are also restricting visitors and looking to reduce procedures to prioritise COVID which accounts for a significant amount of the absence rate and bed occupancy - which continues to rise on a daily basis.

One member also told us that they were dealing with a shortage of lateral flow kits causing problems getting staff back to work along with tension in the system (especially in social/primary care) and having to stand up a nightingale surge hub for 100 beds all with 10% of their workforce off.

In response, HCSA Chief Officer Keith Rowley said: “We all know January brings significant challenges even at the best of times but the Omicron surge compounded by crippling staff shortages and a lack of COVID tests have created a perfect storm for many Trusts. Clearly this paints a picture of great concern but we know the NHS will stand together as one as HCSA continues to support our members in every way we can at this most difficult of times.”

HCSA Chairman Mark Roscrow added: “As we start the new year the challenge for procurement and supply chain colleagues across the UK is once again huge and I continue to marvel at the dedication and commitment that staff are showing. I know that many staff are also having to deal with COVID themselves and with close family members and one can only be glad that the vaccination programme has been so successful. We will continue to offer help and support where ever possible and wish everyone the very best.”











Posted in News, Uncategorized on Jan 07, 2022

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