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NHS patients at risk as ICUs routinely understaffed, doctors warn

Exclusive: Four out of five UK intensive care consultants say their unit is stretched by shortage of doctors and nurses

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NHS intensive care units, which have played a vital role in the Covid-19 crisis, are so routinely understaffed patients are at risk of poor care, doctors working in them warn today.

Four out of five intensive care consultants believe shortages of doctors and nurses has left their unit too “stretched” to provide the best possible treatment to people receiving life or death care need.

The unprecedented demands Covid placed on ICU staff means that one in seven of the NHS’s 2,500 intensive care consultants is thinking of quitting or switching to another role amid widespread stress and burnout among medics who have borne the brunt of the pandemic.

The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) said the findings, from the UK-wide survey it undertook last month of senior ICU doctors and shared with the Guardian, showed that lack of staff in ICU is worryingly common.

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