Responding to today’s briefing with England’s chief medical officer and the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“We are at a crucial moment in the next phase of this pandemic and we need both clear communication and action from the Government, as well as a renewed commitment from the public for their help because much of the success of what follows depends on both.
“The NHS responded well to the first phase of coronavirus but it came at a cost to both the wellbeing of frontline health and care workers who were already thin on the ground prior to the pandemic as well as to other vital NHS services for patients, which had to be paused.
“Experts are right to point out the broader impact that the Government’s response to COVID could have on the country’s health and wellbeing and so, as these vital services continue to be brought back we must do everything we can to avoid this from happening again, learning lessons from last time and using this intelligence in a timely way. Importantly, local NHS leaders must be involved in decisions about their services and what their staff can safely deliver, especially given the additional challenges that winter will bring them.
“Also, as a priority we need a an effective Test and Trace system as it is troubling that the Government’s experts are warning us that the nation is in for a bumpy ride over the next six months while people, including health and care staff continue to be let down with delays to test results and access being stretched.”