Commenting on the latest coronavirus figures which show that the daily death toll has now topped one thousand, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“These figures need to be a wake-up call to the stark impact that the pandemic is having on our friends, neighbours and loved ones and the daily battle being played out across all health and care services against this horrible disease.
“The tragedy of around 80,000 people dying in the UK with COVID-19 over the past year can sometimes be lost in the snowstorm of daily figures but behind each death is an individual and behind each hospitalisation is a dedicated team of health professionals who have been working flat out to tackle a pandemic day in, day out. But those teams across the country are becoming smaller through vacancies, exhaustion and sickness and the numbers they are supporting will become insurmountable peaks unless we all heed the chilling warning and follow the necessary guidelines.
“We have reached the third consecutive day where the highest number of daily cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began has been recorded and tragically, it has now been reported in the daily data that over 1,000 people have lost their lives due to COVID. We may soon be offering vaccinations in sports stadiums but we also have the daily caseload to fill them.
“While the national lockdown is necessary and the vaccine roll-out offers hope, it will not be enough unless we all do what we can to reduce transmission of the virus. Protecting the NHS is not just a slogan or even an end in itself. On a daily basis, our members know this means protecting your friends, your families, your colleagues and your loved ones from harm and allowing the broader range of NHS services to carry on wherever possible.
“Earlier this week the country was moved to its highest COVID alert level meaning that there was a ‘material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed’. Figures like today take us one step closer to that prospect and so, it is incumbent on all of us to prevent that from happening.”