UP TO 400 members of hospital staff were off each day as A&E attendances soared in Southampton, an NHS trust report has said.

Some 380 patients were arriving at Southampton General Hospital's A&E department each day in March.

But at the same time staff absences had skyrocketed. On some days up to 400 staff were off.

The grim picture was revealed in a report to the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust's board.

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In his report David French, Chief Executive at the trust, said the hospital was on black alert, meaning it had a diminished ability to deliver comprehensive care.

Some five wards had been allocated to deal with 95 Covid patients while medics also faced the challenge of managing Covid contacts within the hospital.

This had seen the closure of more beds and bays to those without the virus.

Mr French said: "As well as these dedicated wards set aside for Covid-19, we are also experiencing a significant challenge managing Covid contacts with various other wards and bays closed across the site resulting in further lost beds.

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"Meanwhile our emergency pressures continue to be very high with average daily attendances to the main emergency department almost 380 for March 2022.

"These pressures have been further compounded by a peak in staff absence during March, up to 400 staff on some days during the month."

But Mr French praised staff who had maintained their work - with all the trust's operating theatres now open again.

He added: "With all this in mind, I want to record my thanks to all staff across the trust who have maintained our services throughout this period and have continued to make good progress addressing our most challenging elective backlogs, including substantially reducing the number of patients waiting more than two years for treatment and delivering our full intensive care operating programme on most days."

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