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England is considering placing Covid patients in hotels as study reveals deep trauma among ICU workers

The news came when British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said authorities were considering recovering Covid-19 patients in hotels as a “backup plan”, such is the intense pressure being put on hospitals by the recent rise in infections.

Britain marked its second deadly day since the pandemic started on Tuesday with 1,243 new coronavirus-related deaths. It also reported 45,533 new cases, bringing the total case number to 3,117,882.

England went into its third national shutdown last week as it struggles to cope with the spread of a new, more contagious variant of coronavirus. The British government and senior health officials have warned that many hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed.

At a news conference Monday, Hancock said the variant “sets the NHS [National Health Service] under very marked pressure “with Covid-related hospital admissions up 22% compared to the previous week.

The study ̵

1; which has not yet been peer reviewed – was published Wednesday by researchers at King’s College London. It analyzed the responses to an anonymous online survey in June and July of more than 700 physicians and nurses working in intensive care units across six different hospitals.

Although nearly 60% of respondents reported well-being, the study found that nearly half of ICU staff reported symptoms consistent with a probable diagnosis of PTSD, major depression, or anxiety or drinking problems.

Nearly one in seven (13.4%) ICU staff members reported frequent thoughts of being better off dead or injuring themselves in the past two weeks.

Today’s Coronavirus: Facts Vs. fiction podcast also deals with the mental health effects of the pandemic on health workers. Listen here.

About 45% of respondents reached the threshold of probable clinical significance on at least one of these interventions: severe depression (6.3%), PTSD (39.5%), severe anxiety (11.3%) or difficulty drinking. (7.2%).

Nursing staff were more likely to report higher levels of distress than physicians or other clinical staff, the researchers found. Almost half of those who conducted the surveys were nurses and just over 40% were doctors. The researchers found that doctors consistently reported better health than nurses.

The study, led by Neil Greenberg of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, was published online in the journal Occupational Medicine.

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“Our findings highlight the potential profound impact that Covid-19 has had on the mental health of UK frontline personnel,” the study said.

“(The) probable PTSD rate that we report was about nine times as high as that found in the general population, and more than double that found in recent combat veterans.”

Greenberg tweeted that the survey “clearly shows that many ICU employees understandably have a very hard time.” He urged them not to feel stigmatized and, if necessary, seek free help through the NHS.

The researchers note that ICU staff members have experienced many stressors during the pandemic, including staff shortages, fears of endangering the virus and endangering their loved ones, concerns about lack of personal protective equipment and distress in losing patient lives despite their best interests. . effort.

The findings of the study will only increase concern about the stress placed on NHS staff in the UK as they struggle to treat a record number of patients with Covid-19.

Hancock said Wednesday that considering Covid patients in hotels was considered a “backup plan” by the state authorities, but that “obviously was not what I want to do.”

“We are considering all the options, it is not something we are actively in place. But I would say it would only ever happen if it was clinically right for any individual patient,” Hancock told the BBC.

“There is a delay from the number of cases to the number of people showing up at the hospital. So we know this pressure on the NHS will continue to build over the next few weeks,” he added.

Hancock said the temporary Nightingale hospitals set up by NHS England in the midst of the first wave of the pandemic were there as a relapse for hospitals.

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Asked what type of patients would be sent to hotels, the health secretary said it “would be to accommodate patients or patients who have been in hospital who no longer need the full hospital treatment but are not quite ready to go home. “

London and the south-east of England are among the areas hardest hit by the new variant, although it has now spread across the UK and has been discovered in at least 50 other countries, including Ireland, which has been hit hardest.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday declared a “major incident” in the English capital “due to the rapid spread of coronavirus … and the rise in Covid-19 cases in hospitals, which has left the NHS in danger of being overwhelmed. “

The British government is hoping to bring the crisis under control on a mass Covid-19 vaccination drive.

“So far across the UK, we have given 2.6 million doses to 2.3 million people, and we have protected more people through vaccinations than all the countries in Europe combined,” Hancock told a Downing Street news conference on Monday.

Hancock said the UK was on track to deliver a first dose of the vaccine to “all in the top four cohorts” – accounting for 88% of Covid-19-related deaths – by 15 February. These groups include all nursing home residents and staff, all 70-year-olds and above, and health and social workers in the front line.

Two-fifths of those over 80s and nearly a quarter of the elderly in the home had received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of Monday, Hancock said.

CNN’s Martin Goillandeau, Duarte Mendonca and Niamh Kennedy contributed to this report.

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