Around 15 staff a day absent from York Hospital because they are self-isolating

York Hospital. Photograph: YorkMix

York Hospital faces a “challenging” winter – with doctors, nurses and healthcare staff off work due to coronavirus as the NHS faces a second wave of Covid patients, a backlog of procedures and seasonal pressures.

A York Hospital board meeting at the end of September heard that almost a third of staff absences were down to coronavirus – with causes including stress, anxiety, sickness and the need to self isolate.

Staff also needed to take carers’ leave, holiday or unpaid leave if their children were sent home from school due to coronavirus cases.

About 15 staff a day were off after being asked to self-isolate by the test and trace system, the meeting heard.

And social distancing means there is a lack of adequate facilities for staff to take breaks together in the same room.

Staff wellbeing a priority

Wendy Scott, from the hospital’s board of directors, told the meeting on September 30: “During the first wave we were able to pause services and redeploy staff.

“We don’t have the same opportunity to redeploy staff the way we did in wave one. That is potentially the biggest challenge and a risk that all providers are flagging.”

A spokesperson for the hospital trust said: “Board discussions highlight the challenges we are facing to restart services while Covid is still with us, with the potential for a second wave, alongside the normal winter challenges we face every year.

“We are very aware of the impact this is having on our staff and their wellbeing is a priority for us.

“Through a range of wellbeing initiatives we are supporting staff to stay emotionally, mentally and physically well at what is a difficult and challenging time.”