Coronavirus: One in four NHS doctors 'sick or in isolation'

March 30, 2020

Around a quarter of NHS doctors are off work because they are sick or in isolation, the head of the Royal College of Physicians has said.

Professor Andrew Goddard warned the level of illness and self-isolation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic was already seriously affecting emergency departments, particularly in the UK's two biggest cities.

"This is really impacting a lot in emergency departments and London is in a much worse position than elsewhere at the moment, but it will come to other places.

"Birmingham is also struggling," he said, while hospital wards across England "are going from normal wards to Covid wards very quickly".

The situation could either worsen as NHS staff were tested for the illness, or improve as people come out of isolation, he added.

"Of course the worry is we will lose more people to Covid-related illness," he said.

And it's not just doctors who are being affected. On Sunday, the Royal College of Nursing said around one in five nurses had taken time off work to isolate themselves.

The warnings on NHS staffing levels come as the disease continued to spread through the heart of government with Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson's chief adviser, the latest to go into quarantine after developing symptoms.

The prime minister, the health secretary Matt Hancock and England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty have all isolated themselves due to the illness.

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The number of people who have died in the UK after contracting coronavirus now stands at 1,415 - a rise of 180 from Sunday.

The number - which was down from the previous day's 207 - counts those who died in the 24 hours up to 5pm on Sunday.

In England, 159 people died after contracting the virus, taking the total to 1,284.

A further six people died in Scotland, taking the total to 47 while in Wales, the number of people who have now died is 62, a rise of 14.

And the number of people who have died in Northern Ireland has risen by one to 22, with total cases at 533.

More than 9,000 people who have tested positive for coronavirus are being treated in hospitals across England, NHS England's chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has said.

Earlier, an epidemiologist who helped persuade ministers that only strict controls would prevent mass deaths, said there are signs the rate of hospital admission is slowing.

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