There are reports of NHS patients struggling with delays and cancellations to non-Covid health issues including cancer treatments. NHS England has urged regional directors to give cancer patients the same priority as Covid patients even as intensive care units struggle with a lack of beds.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, had said NHS staff are “exhausted and traumatised” and the delays could go on after the pandemic has eased.
He added it would be “unreasonable” to ask staff to continue at the pace they are currently working in order to get the NHS back to normal immediately.
Speaking to The Guardian, Mr Hopson also said he expects “very large numbers” of NHS workers to quit their jobs due to the stress they have been put under.
The healthcare boss said: “It’s striking how many NHS staff on TV recently have said things like ‘I feel broken’ or ‘I feel burned out.’
“We cannot expect the NHS to carry on at the intensity we’ve been running at. We’ve completely run the tank dry and need to give people the chance to recover.”
It is thought around 4.5 million people in England alone are awaiting hospital care, while the number of people having to wait for a year has increased from 1,398 to nearly 200,000, The Guardian adds.
READ: UK breaks vaccination record with 1.1million doses in 24hours – 9,468,382 jabs so far
The NHS announced this weekend that a coronavirus vaccine has been offered to residents at every eligible care home in England.
It came as 598,389 first doses were given across the UK on Saturday – a new record.
The Government is aiming to have given at least one dose of the vaccine to everyone over the age of 70, clinically extremely vulnerable people and frontline health and social care workers by the middle of this month.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described vaccines as the “route out of the pandemic”.