AN OXFORD ICU nurse's letter of frustration and weariness over lockdown rule breakers has been met with calls for ‘no more half measures’ over lockdown.

Ian Mckendrick, Oxfordshire Unison Health branch communications officer said it showed NHS services and staff are ‘stretched to breaking point’.

He said: “We are now in a situation worse than the first wave, with 10,000 more people in hospital as a result of Covid than at the peak in March.

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"More people are now dying every day than at any point in the pandemic.

He added ‘clearly’ not enough was being done by the Government to ensure as many people as possible everyone stay home and everyone now needed to ‘insist’ on an effective lockdown.

Banbury Cake: Oxford. 21/11/14 OX71312..Request: Hughes Length: Live..Number of assaults on NHS mental health staff in Oxfordshire has gone up more than 100% in the last two years...Mental health nurse and Unison rep, Ian McKendrick, 50, at the main entrance of the WOxford. 21/11/14 OX71312..Request: Hughes Length: Live..Number of assaults on NHS mental health staff in Oxfordshire has gone up more than 100% in the last two years...Mental health nurse and Unison rep, Ian McKendrick, 50, at the main entrance of the W

Ian Mckendrick

Mr Mckendrick said: “More half-measures only risk overwhelming the NHS and ensuring many more people die unnecessarily.”

The Prime Minister yesterday said it would be ‘far,far better’ for people to follow existing rules rather than have to introduce new lockdown measures.

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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the John Radcliffe and is where the ICU nurse works, was contacted for comment but said it did not have one.

However, a release by health providers across Oxfordshire yesterday warned of growing pressure.

OUH chief nursing officer Sam Foster said: “Our hospitals are fuller than they were in March and April last year.

Banbury Cake: Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer, and Nicholas Woodthorpe, the first patient at the OUH Vaccination Centre. Picture: Oxford University HospitalsSam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer, and Nicholas Woodthorpe, the first patient at the OUH Vaccination Centre. Picture: Oxford University Hospitals

Sam Foster

“We are doing all that we can to care for our patients with Covid but, if people do not stick to the national lockdown rules, we are likely to see cases rise even more and the pressure on our hospitals and our staff will increase further.”

In the same statement Oxfordshire’s Director of Public Health Ansaf Azhar urged people to ‘take personal responsibility’ as individuals and families to ‘give ourselves a chance’ of containing the virus.

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Jacquie Pearce-Gervis, chair of Oxford Patient Voice, in response to the nurse’s letter said the group was ‘very appreciative’ of the dedication and skills of all healthcare workers.

She said: “We can understand the nurse’s frustration but would point out that the vast majority of people are adhering strictly to what the Government is asking us to do.”

Banbury Cake: OT profile Jacquie Pearce Gervis.OT profile Jacquie Pearce Gervis.

Jacquie Pearce-Gervis

Ms Pearce-Gervis added: “We agree that there is the odd person who ignores the regulations: refuses to wear a mask/pushes in front of us/stretches across us, and this is so annoying.

"But what can a lone person in a small shop do about such people apart from courteously asking them to ‘toe the line’ for all our sakes?”

Oxford City Council’s cabinet member for safer, healthy Oxford Louise Upton said the letter was “powerful testimony from someone on the front line of Covid, and I hope everyone reading it takes her pleas to heart.”

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She added the authority has officers checking businesses like essential shops are complying, and can issue warnings and fines if they don’t, saying: “Officers work closely with local police who have powers to issue penalties to individual staff and members of the public.

"We urge everyone to take the risk seriously. Don’t be the link in the chain that ends with someone in a hospital bed.”

Thames Valley Police was contacted for comment but did not respond.

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