Responding to today’s Downing Street briefing, Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“Our thanks go to the thousands of NHS staff across the country, including in primary and community care, as well as in social care, who are giving up time with their loved ones over the Easter weekend to care for us. The very least the public can do is continue to follow the Government’s social distancing guidance in return.
“As the death toll surpasses 10,000 across the UK, we know this still does not reflect the full picture and that this will continue to rise over the coming weeks. We are growing increasingly concerned about the disproportionately high number of deaths of people from the BME community, including the at least 19 confirmed deaths of NHS workers. We need to understand why and are pressing the Government for clarity on this.
“For example, while we are hearing of improvements in access to PPE, our members, including those from primary, community and mental health services are telling us that there is a lot more to do. No one should have to work in conditions that unnecessarily compromise their own safety.
“Also, health leaders are telling us that NHS and care staff need more tests. We welcome the Government’s commitment to expand testing to staff and household members and are pleased that this will include individuals working in services other than acute hospitals.
“Health leaders have continued to work hard across their constituencies to free up their critical care bed capacity to record levels and in doing so, they have shown the NHS’s extraordinary ability to transform and innovate.
“While this is needed to deal with the global pandemic now, we should not underestimate the long term impact of this, for example with waiting lists for routine surgical procedures. The NHS will need long term investment and support from the Government once the immediate threat passes in what is likely to be an otherwise economically restrained period.”