Norwich South Labour MP, Clive Lewis, has sent an urgent letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for immediate and new measures to help Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH). The hospital is near its breaking point as it treats three times more patients with Covid-19 than at the last peak of the pandemic. Clive Lewis’ letter to the Secretary of State for Health is attached.

Staff say the situation is “desperate” at NNUH. Military personnel are having to help out at the overstretched hospital. And the local NHS has had to make an emergency plea for 200 council staff to assist in Norfolk hospitals (including clinical tasks such as taking observations, swabbing and PPE fitting).

The immediate measures Clive Lewis is calling for include:
• Drafting private hospitals and their staff to support the frontline efforts in the NHS.
• Stepping up efforts to vaccinate all health and social care workers.
• Much more decisive action to prevent community transmission and people ending up in hospital in the first place.
Clive Lewis is also urging the minister to implement a range of longer-term proposals. These would reduce the epidemic’s scale now, prevent recurrence and enable our society and economy to better recover from it.

Clive Lewis said:
“I feel so sorry for the wonderful staff at our N&N and everyone in health and social care in our city. They are at the sharp end of what has become a quite terrifying local healthcare crisis.

So much of this trauma, illness and death was avoidable. Per capita, the UK has the highest Covid death rate in the world. As a spokesperson for the Health Foundation think tank said last week, “we’ve run our system too hot for too many years” which has “left us vulnerable”.

But it’s still not too late for the government to take immediate action which could make a big difference to staff and patients at NNUH and other hospitals.”