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UK, France, Spain inching to healthcare collapse under Omicron

UK, France, Spain inching to healthcare collapse under Omicron

Despite having robust health care systems, France, Britain, and Spain are staggering once again under the immense pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic third wave. Omicron is inducing exponential growth in the rate of new cases and causing their healthcare systems inching to a collapse, Associated Press reported.

In the three nations, hospitalisations have gone up to reach as much as last spring. Also, The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a population health research organisation of the University of Washington, predicts that more than half of the European population will contract Omicron infection in two months, including frontline workers in public hospitals.

Dr Julie Helms from Strasbourg University Hospital in France said that the hospital couldn't admit many patients, and non-Covid patients are becoming collateral victims to the situation. As of now, 15% of Strasbourg hospital system's staff were absent, while it is 20 per cent in some hospitals. According to Dr Helms, who runs the ICU here, said that beds are almost occupied, and she stressed those hospitalised are mostly unvaccinated people. She had to deny many admission requests after that. When three patients are waiting for a single, they admit the one that could most benefit, Helms said.

In Britain, the government had to assign military into the healthcare system to various services such as vaccination and operating ambulances. Here also, non-Covid patients are suffering as they are not getting the required care as the pandemic demands the attention of health troops. Reports from National Health Service last week suggests that more than 13,000 patients have to wait in stretchers for more than 1 hour to get a hospital bed. Britain has a backlog of around 5.9 million people awaiting cancer screenings, scheduled surgeries etc. The health care service here met the pandemic with a shortage of 1,00,000 health workers worsening the situation.

The issue lies with the lack of flexibility of systems to handle big crises. Flexible buildings can be expanded, flexible terms of accepting task shifting, flexibility in terms of sharing loads and more healthcare personal for emergencies is needed. But, repeated pandemic waves kept administrations preoccupied to implement necessary flexibility amendments to healthcare infrastructure.

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