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Belfast and South Eastern trusts send out appeal to workers as hospitals deal with increasing Covid-19 cases

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The Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

The Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

The Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

The Belfast Trust has appealed to its nursing staff to work on Sunday evening and overnight as the Royal Victoria and Mater Hospitals operate under extreme pressure.

In an appeal on Facebook, the trust said the hospitals are caring for an increasing number of positive Covid-19 patients, alongside emergency admissions.

The South Eastern Trust also appealed for staff to work on Sunday evening due to ongoing pressures.

It comes after the Department of Health recorded another two deaths linked to Covid-19 on Sunday.

Northern Ireland’s death toll now stands at 2,170.

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Another 1,264 positive cases were recorded, representing a small drop on Saturday’s figure, but still 537 more cases than the previous Sunday’s figure.

“We are asking for help from you, our trust nursing staff, to work this evening and overnight,” stated the trust in its appeal.

“We would ask anyone who is available to work tonight to make contact with us on 07825 140173.”

Health Minister Robin Swann said the appeals were necessary to maintain services.

“My enduring thanks to all our health staff who do so much for all of us,” he added. “Play your part, follow the regulations and get your vaccine.”

Sinn Fein MLA Colm Gildernew called on Mr Swann to ensure safe staffing levels in hospitals and described the staff appeals as “very concerning”.

"The Health Minister must act to ensure safe staffing levels in all hospitals and that all staff are supported,” he stated.

"It is also important that everyone continues to be vigilant and follow the public health guidelines to help ease pressures on our health service and its workers."

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and the party’s health spokesperson Pam Cameron said the increasing pressure on the health service demonstrates the need for young people to ensure they take up the offer of Covid vaccination.

“Numbers of people hospitalised through Covid-19 have been increasing over recent days, and this will have an impact on other health services,” they said in a statement. 

"Due to these pressures, there will be a downturn in elective care in the Belfast Trust from Monday. There has also been a call put out to off-duty nursing staff to work this evening because of pressures at the Royal and Mater hospitals.

"Across the UK there has been an increase in the numbers of younger people contracting Covid-19. Whilst we have hit another significant milestone locally with over one million people now fully vaccinated, we lag behind other areas of the UK in terms of our younger population.

"In Scotland around 30% of under 30s are not yet vaccinated whilst in England that figure rises to 34%. In Northern Ireland however that figure rises to just over 42%.

"Vaccination is not just about protecting yourself but is also vital to protect our NHS and to safeguard the relaxations we have been able to introduce.”


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