Major incident halted in Northamptonshire although Covid situation 'remains serious'

Decision taken after staff absences and positive tests fall but hospitals are still under pressure

By Kevin Nicholls
Friday, 28th January 2022, 11:00 am
Updated Friday, 28th January 2022, 11:02 am

Local emergency services, NHS and councils have called off a major incident sparked by fears of a surge in Covid cases in Northamptonshire.

Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey, who leads the Local Resilience Forum, revealed the decision to stand down was taken after seeing staff absence across all partner agencies decrease.

But he warned the situation 'remains serious' across health and social care in the county.

Health and emergency services have stood down the major incident for Northamptonshire

Staff from multiple agencies had been put on stand-by to help out as areas became stretched by workers being off sick or having to self-isolate.

Mr Dovey said: "It is felt that the arrangements that are in place between health and social care colleagues are sufficient to manage the situation and therefore the LRF governance arrangements are no longer required.

"It was agreed that the current situation was unlikely to deteriorate in the near future. Also, based on the current situation, we do not anticipate significant ongoing needs for mutual aid on this basis.

"We have also seen staff absence across all partner agencies decrease, albeit they still remain higher than normal."

Army personnel will continue to support hospitals and East Midlands Ambulance Service until February 11 when it will be reviewed.

Mr Dovey added: "While we acknowledge the situation remains serious across health and social care, it is felt that the arrangements that are in place between health and social care colleagues are sufficient to manage the situation.

"As Chair of the LRF, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the agencies and staff who have pulled together to help to manage and stabilise the situation over the past three weeks and, of course, the wider public for assisting in those efforts."

According to NHS England, the number of staff off sick or self-isolating due to Covid at Northampton and Kettering hospitals has dropped from a peak of 877 on January 7 to 655 by Sunday (January 23).

The number of Covid patients being treated in the county's hospitals stood at 159 on Tuesday (January 25) despite fears it could double as the Omicron variant spread, while weekly figures of new positive tests recorded across Northamptonshire are down to just over 10,000 from around 12,500 at the start of the month.