Responding to today’s Downing Street briefing, Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, said:
“We know that it will take some time for a vaccine to be rolled out across the country but it is encouraging to hear that the Government has launched a taskforce to accelerate this development.
“If the NHS is to continue tackling this deadly disease in the long term alongside providing its fuller range of care services, health leaders will need early reassurance that their key workers will be given priority access to the approved vaccine when it eventually comes onstream, alongside vulnerable groups. In the meantime, it is vital that the public adheres to the social distancing measures as this is proving to reduce transmission.
“The news comes as the Government has announced that testing for coronavirus will be expanded further and the latest data shows that a record number have been administered to NHS staff and other key workers [926 on 17 April].
“Our members are less bothered about whether the Government will achieve its target of 100,000 tests by the end of the month and more on making sure that all of their staff, including workers across primary, mental, social and community care services, who need to be tested get them because there appears to be a disparity between the capacity reported and what is being offered on the ground.”