THE Royal Oldham Hospital is waiting for military support to be confirmed and approved amid mounting Covid pressures.

Hospitals in Greater Manchester have been forced to request support from the Armed Forces as the Omicron wave continues to drive staff absences.

In a briefing released by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership it was revealed that staff absences across the region’s trusts had reached 10 to 15 per cent while bed occupancy rates had hit around 90 per cent.

Military assistance could see soldiers help discharge patients from The Royal Oldham Hospital and assist with administration.

Soldiers may also provide basic care such as helping patients with nutrition and hydration.

The level of support that will be provided by the military is yet to be confirmed.

The request has been made under the Military Aid to Civil Authorities process. Under the process assistance is provided by the armed forces to other government departments for urgent work of national importance, such as responding to emergencies or maintaining supplies and essential services.

In a statement a Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership spokesperson said: “Health and care services across Greater Manchester have been under sustained pressure throughout the pandemic, which in recent weeks has been compounded by the spread of the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus.

“Patient safety will always be our priority and we have already taken a number of steps to make sure we can provide care to those who need it most. This now includes requesting support from the Armed Forces to help with discharging patients and assisting with administrative and planning roles - as well as providing some basic care such as helping patients with nutrition and hydration.”

Residents are being urged to use NHS 111 if their medical need is not urgent, get vaccinated and follow government guidance by wearing face coverings in public, limiting social contact where possible, and practicing good hygiene to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Anyone with a serious illness or injury should continue to seek and help and treatment by using their local emergency department.