Responding to the news that NHS staff testing will begin and two new hospitals will be created, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“As we have consistently argued more staff testing has to be the way forward. It means more of them can get back to work more quickly, fewer have to self-isolate and all will feel more confident. Our members, the leaders of the NHS, are desperate to support their frontline staff and the delivery of more staff testing cannot come quickly enough.
“The workforce is expanding but we need to do everything to keep as many as possible fit and healthy as the pressures mount.
“When we saw hospitals appear from nothing in China within days many would have thought that could not happen here. But it is happening now, not just in London but soon in Birmingham and in Manchester. A brilliant response though of course the challenge may well be finding the staff to deliver the care which is why we have to do everything possible to protect this, our most precious resource.
“Thousands of doctors, nurses and allied professionals have answered the call and with a large number of support staff and volunteers, the army to fight the coming onslaught from this virus is being assembled.
“No-one should underestimate the personal pressures and anxieties facing everyone in frontline care – not just in intensive care or Covid wards but in mental health facilities, care homes and out in the community. This has to be a joint effort with health and social care coming together like never before.
“The NHS is transforming in front of our eyes – the service has freed up the equivalent of 50 hospitals in England alone and the way just about every service is being delivered has changed in a matter of days. But we will not know whether it can cope until we see what is going to hit us. What we do know is that victory very largely depends on the response from all of us to the public health measures the government has put in place.”