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Nine health unions issue plea in desperate bid to protect NHS

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With widespread community transmission of Covid-19 across Wales leading to there being more Covid-19 patients in hospital than at any other time this year, nine unions representing frontline healthcare workers have joined forces to highlight the impact the rise in cases is having on the staff providing care, and to urge the public to do all they can to protect the NHS.

BMA Cymru Wales, British Association of Occupational Therapists, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, GMB, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing Wales, Society of Radiographers, Unison and Unite say staff are ‘beyond exhausted’ and they have significant concerns regarding the impact of the five day Christmas period on infection rates, as well as the subsequent impact a third spike would have on the Welsh NHS and its ability to cope.

The nine organisations fully welcomed all of the measures announced by Welsh Government today and called on health boards to implement without delay, agreeing that NHS staff and patients must be protected.

A statement from the Joint Health Trade Unions, said:

“If pressure on the service continues to increase, we must be realistic about what it will mean for patients in hospitals where every bed is full – making treatment difficult and waiting lists longer.

“We are not seeking to change the decision that has been made about Christmas, but we have a responsibility to help minimise any impact on the health service and its staff and patients.

“Staff are truly exhausted, mentally and physically, and they are extremely concerned about what January will bring.

“All we ask, as we have done throughout the pandemic, is that when you make your choices about Christmas, you take the risk seriously and minimise contact as much as possible. Covid-19 has not gone away.”