85% of West Suffolk Hospital staff vaccinated in battle to meet demand on health service

The accident took place outside West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Around 85% of West Suffolk Hospital staff have had their first Covid-19 vaccine dose - Credit: Archant

More than 4,000 workers at one of the county's key hospitals have had their first Covid-19 jab - 85% of its cohort, it has been confirmed.

And work to establish more vaccine sites in the west of the county is also underway.

West Suffolk Hospital chief executive Stephen Dunn told Thursday's Health and Wellbeing Board gathering of the county's health leaders that of its 5,000 staff around 4,300, or 85%, had been given their first dose of the Covid vaccine, while a further 6,000 health and care workers from other organisations had also been jabbed.

"We weren't one of the initial hospital hub sites but we were fortunate to get adequate supplies and the green light to set up as a hospital hub on January 4," he said.

Suffolk coronavirus cases: Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, sa

West Suffolk Hospital chief executive Dr Stephen Dunn said vaccinating staff was key to meeting the pressure on the hospital - Credit: Archant

"We have had an enormous mobilisation to gear up to deliver around 620 vaccinations per day, which we have been delivering.

"We have now vaccinated over 4,300 staff of our total of 5,000 staff, so we are up to about 85% of staff.

"This is really really important because we have seen sickness levels in the trust through the most recent peak at around 10.5%, of which just under 6% of that is attributable to Covid.

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"Staff sickness puts services under tremendous pressure while we are experiencing demand, so the quicker we get this vaccination into staff will afford them protection and will help with resilience and our ability to cope and meet the needs of our population."

Dr Dunn said normal sickness levels were around 4% meaning Covid had more than doubled that.

The 6,000 jabs initiated to other health workers include local dentists, undertakers, those who deliver medical equipment, carers, community workers, mental health professionals and those in the ambulance service, according to the hospital trust.

"It has brought a morale boost for staff - it is light at the end of the tunnel," Dr Dunn said.

"But this is not going to be easy - it is challenging, we are working at pace and this is a massive mobilisation.

"It will not be perfect and I think we would all apologise where we have not quite got it right, but we are absolutely committed to the ramp up, and we are looking to help and support colleagues in the West put on additional sites."