NHS chiefs in Essex hope the public will support new Covid-19 restrictions if they are needed to combat a rise in infections.

Princess Alexandra Hospital and the Mid and South Essex NHS foundation trusts - which run hospitals in Harlow, Chelmsford, Braintree, Basildon and Southend - said they remain committed to the use of vaccines and face masks.

This comes after Home Secretary Sajid Javid told Sky News on October 25 that he is "leaning towards" making Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for NHS staff.

Stephanie Lawton, Princess Alexandra's chief operating officer, said in a statement: "The wearing of face masks remains compulsory in hospitals and our patients are supportive of this requirement.

"We remain committed to preventing the spread of Covid-19 and would hope that any revised restrictions would be supported by the public.

"We have an action plan in place to support our recovery in terms of patient appointments and procedures, and this continues to be a huge focus for teams across the hospital.

"Thanks go to our people for their ongoing hard work and commitment to patient care, and our patients for their understanding and support as we work together."

A spokesperson for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust added: "To help ensure everyone stays as safe as possible, we are asking staff members to have their flu vaccine and the Covid booster when they are eligible to do so.

"Face masks continue to be worn by staff and visitors while on hospital grounds and we continue to follow guidance from Public Health England.

"We are also working closely with out partners in the NHS and social care to respond to the higher demand for our services as we approach winter."

Last week, the British Medical Association (BMA) and the NHS Confederation called on the government to introduce its Plan B measures to avoid a winter crisis.

Plan B includes making face masks compulsory, introducing Covid passports and asking people to work from home.

The government's current approach includes booster vaccines, vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds, and using the NHS Test and Trace system.