NHS doctors could be helped by secretaries in coming weeks as bosses raise the alarm the health service could become overwhelmed. The number of Covid-19 patients is set to rise sparking major concerns across the UK.
Hospitals have been calling for “immediate additional staff” to help relieve the pressure on their wards.
In London, NHS chiefs have laid out plans to redistribute hospital staff across units.
The documents, obtained by the Independent, listed non-clinical employees carrying out duties such as running equipment, helping patients eat and keeping track of patient details.
NHS England’s chief Sir Simon Stevens said the virus was “spreading out of control” in many areas.
He added: “We have more than 30,000 severely ill coronavirus patients in hospitals across England.
“This is a very serious moment for the country and for the National Health Service.”
But other places in England have reported concerns over surging coronavirus figures.
On Monday, hospital in Cheshire were described as “overwhelmed” by the critical care network.
Chief executive of the Countess of Chester NHS Trust, Dr Susan Gilby, warned more than 60 percent of patients in her hospital had contracted coronavirus.
NHS England’s medical director Steve Powis said at a Downing Street press conference that the increase in infections caused by household mixing was still not entirely reflected in current figures.
Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has urged Britons to remain at home unless strictly necessary.
He told the BBC: “I don’t think we’re yet at the peak, I’m afraid.
“I think we will be at the peak if everybody can double down and absolutely minimise their contacts.
“We will get through together, but at this point in time we’re at the worst point in the epidemic for the UK.”
In a leaked memo, obtained by the Independent, NHS England’s London regional director, Sir David Sloman, advised hospital chiefs in London on Friday on how to redeploy their staff.
He said: “It is clear that NHS trusts across the capital are in need of immediate additional staff and all opportunities for redeployment both from within the NHS and from social care and voluntary sectors must be facilitated at pace.”