Labour has called on the government to take “urgent action” to prepare the NHS for the winter and a second Covid wave after new analysis by the party found “hundreds of extreme risks to patient and staff safety”.
The party has reviewed official documents from 114 non-specialist acute NHS England trusts published between March and August this year and found that over half of reported hazards were classed as “significant” or “extreme”.
The risks included some trusts being unable to continue cancer services due to a lack of oncologists and one hospital warning that a collapsing roof was posing a “direct risk to life and safety of patients, visitors and staff”.
Jonathan Ashworth said: “In a normal winter, these risks would be worrying. In the coming winter, with the incompetent handling of the test and trace system leaving the NHS wide open and poorly supported, they take on a whole new meaning.”
Labour has argued that Covid has exposed the “detrimental long-term impact of Tory underfunding” as the majority of risks were linked to insufficient funding, staff shortages, failing equipment and deteriorating buildings.