COVID-19 figures: East and North Herts NHS Trust 'stretched and challenged'

Nick Carver, chief executive of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, smiling to camera

Nick Carver, chief executive of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, says staff will "remain stretched and challenged for some time" due to the COVID-19 pandemic - Credit: East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

More than 2,000 high risk elderly people have so far received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital.  

The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs Lister and Welwyn Garden City’s New QEII Hospital, has also reported 77 patients with COVID-19 and 181 staff off with COVID-related isolation or illness – as of last Monday. 

Hospitals in England are currently treating more COVID patients than at the peak of the first wave in April - 20,426 yesterday, NHS England figures show, compared to the previous peak of about 19,000 in April.  

Nick Carver, the NHS trust’s chief executive, said: “We will remain stretched and challenged for some time.” 

Addressing staff, he said: “In a dark, wet winter we yearn for a return to that we have known and cherish.  

“Hard as the [Tier 4] restrictions will be for us, we must remember why they are in place, and why it is important to follow them to protect our communities and each other.  

“Whilst I cannot change the circumstances that we are in, I do want to assure you of two things and request of you a third. 

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“Firstly, please do know how very important your work is and how much it is appreciated, both within the trust and amongst the people we serve. 

“Secondly, be reassured that there is a way out. The way out of the pandemic is through widespread vaccination. We have vaccinated over 2,000 high risk elderly people with the first dose and will see the marked acceleration of the national programme in January. Vaccination will beat the virus. 

“Finally, a request. My mother, an evacuee from the East End during the war, reminded me that the unity of the people was what got her and others through hard times. Please do all you can to demonstrate our unity to those you work with – unity of purpose and concern. 

“Please look out for your colleagues, be attuned to those who are feeling particularly pressurised and stressed. You may be the one who makes the difference. 

“Thank you for all that you continue to do as a team of remarkable people in these challenging times.” 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce any changes to England's tier restrictions tomorrow. 

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