‘It’s like having a major incident on every shift’

Hospital staff are doing twice the amount of work they'd normally do to cope during the Covid crisis.

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Hospital staff are doing twice the amount of work they should be to cope with the coronavirus crisis, a doctor has warned.

Dr David Chung, from the A&E department at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, said every shift was “like having a mini major incident”.

Hospitals in the Ayrshire and Arran health board area are at 96% capacity, Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday as she announced the new national lockdown.

Dr Chung said staff there were feeling the pressure but were committed to being available for anyone who needs them.

He said: “Individual staff in the department are probably having to do more work than they’d normally do.

“And that’s translated throughout the entire hospital as well. All of the wards are trying to do the same.

“They’re needed to basically to do the work of one-and-a-half to two members of staff all the time. And that’s what’s wearing. Sometimes you can do it, sometimes it feels like you can’t do it.

“And the staff are definitely feeling that pressure just now. It’s tiring and I would say that in terms of what people can do, we’re totally open for emergencies and we always will be.”

Dr Chung urged people to be cautious to make sure they don’t need avoidable A&E treatment as staff struggle to cope with their workloads.

“Just be careful about what you’re doing at the moment,” he said. “The streets are like deathtraps with the ice. Consider, do you really need to go out?

“Is a broken ankle on top of Covid really what needs to happen?

“And also, folk pulling down your Christmas decorations, I’m not being daft here, but everybody just think about what you are doing.

“Be careful what you’re doing. Try not to find yourself needing to use the emergency department.”