What does the Omicron winter crisis mean for the NHS?

Hospital trusts across England have declared ‘critical incidents’ in record numbers as the Omicron wave brings rising admissions and staff sickness. But the strains on NHS capacity long predate Covid, says Denis Campbell

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Throughout this pandemic, the government has claimed it’s had one priority above all others: to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed. But two years into the fight against Covid, the service appears in some places at breaking point. Staff are exhausted, and tens of thousands of them are off sick.

At a busy hospital in south Wales, Dr Laura McLleland, describes how colleagues are bracing for the worst of the current wave amid an avalanche of staff absences.

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