On the night of December 28, Gosport fire station was left without any available firefighters. Due to this, crews had to be moved from a local station, despite the Hampshire and Isle of Wight brigade being stretched as a result of the wave of Omicron spreading through the region. Between December 28 to January 2, the service suffered severely from Covid.
Such was the extent to Covid cases that five fire engines were left unavailable.
Mark Chapman, regional secretary for Region 12 of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “The service is at an absolutely threadbare level of cover.
“We even had one fire station essentially left without any firefighters, having to borrow firefighters from another station.
“As Omicron takes grip across the country that’s something we’ll continue to see in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and more widely.
“That’s because the government has cut the fire and rescue service to its bare bones, with Hampshire losing almost one in five of its firefighters since 2010, and the Isle of Wight losing more than one in four in that same period.”
Overall, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue had 40 people self-isolating due to Covid.
The Prime Minister has come under pressure to alter the rules surrounding self-isolation for emergency and public sector workers.
It is estimated up to one million frontline staff are self-isolating across the country.
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He did, however, add it is very important for the public to submit the results from their lateral flow tests.
He said: “Of course, with a PCR test what happens is a number of those can get sent away for sequencing and then you get more information regarding the virus itself.
“So, that sort of information may potentially be lost, but only a subset of those PCR tests are sent away for sequencing anyway, so, hopefully, we won’t be losing the levels of information that we already have in this country that enables us to identify variants and so forth.”
The NHS is also suffering from large numbers of staff solutions due to Covid.
Due to staff shortages and difficulties in discharging patients, over 15 hospitals have declared critical incidents.