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As Armed Forces sent to support NHS staff, churches encouraged to play their part too

by Alex Collett

Health expert Francis Davis has suggested ways that Christians and churches can support NHS staff, as hospitals face staff shortages, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Defence is to provide 160 general duty personnel and 40 defence medics for the next three weeks.

Hospitals in London have been hit hard by staff absences, with huge numbers off sick and isolating due to the Omicron variant surging through the capital.

Professor of Civil Leadership at the University of Roehampton and an expert in health services Francis Davis told Premier there are ways churches and Christians can help.

Francis asked Premier listeners: “Has your church created a care squad?

“That care squad is someone to give workers lifts to and from work after they've done a double shift and are absolutely exhausted, could be someone to do their shop for them. 

“So they don't have to worry about even trying to find their way around one of those complicated issues, such as offering the help with childcare, whilst their mums and dads are working hard in the social care and health system, so that the family is still healthy while all of this is going on.”

Pressure on London hospitals has increased over the past month, with 4,000 patients currently in hospital with Covid compared with 1,100 in early December.

Francis believes that people and the NHS system are facing huge pressures, but so are the public, he said: “I think it's really important, particularly for those of us that care about the communities that we live in, to say that the people are really under pressure at the moment.

“That pressure is then manifested right across the system and going into the NHS. 

“The NHS is facing the same kind of pressures that some families are facing, we need to care about both. 

“We need to be able to address the needs of both and designing the whole response only around hospitals won't solve it.

“That's part of the solution.”

He also believes that the government should reopen the Nightingale hospitals again to give further support, aid and space for not only Covid-19 paitents, but others who are suffering with other illnesses too, he said: “Where are those Nightingale hospitals gone?

"Where are the nightingale triaging bases, that someone in mental health crisis can go and be safely until such time as they get a proper assessment. 

"Where's the real safe support in the community, it's a really good way to open up space in a hospital."



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