Responding to Sajid Javid’s statement to the House of Commons, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Health leaders are clear that come 19 July, it’s not ‘job done.’ The Secretary of State’s acknowledgment of that is welcome. But as things stand, the spread of the virus is already spiralling, and with it, the risk of new mutations, and mounting pressure on the health service, from acute care to primary care, mental health to community services.
“The news that those who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to self-isolate from 16 August may act as an incentive for people to have both jabs, but we must also remember that no vaccine is 100 per cent effective. The health secretary has warned that we could see 100,000 COVID cases a day this summer, so it’s still vital that people continue to get tested, and isolate if they have COVID, and that they are given enough financial support to be able to do so.
“The health secretary has also said 7 million people have not come forward for treatment during the pandemic, and our members are all too aware of the effect it has had on non-COVID treatment. They have stressed throughout the crisis that the NHS is not, and has never been, a COVID-only service. They want to be able to treat as many people as possible, but if they are to be able to deal with the huge backlogs of treatment, alongside ever-rising COVID cases, caution has to be key.”