Responding to the plan outlined by Health Secretary Matt Hancock to increase Covid-19 testing to 100,000 a day by the end of April, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“NHS and care staff need tests and they need them now. So this plan, not before time, is incredibly welcome. We have too many doctors, nurses and other staff off work because they do not know if they or a member of their household have the virus or not. This is a sensible plan which should bring in safe and effective tests at pace. Testing staff at home in household quarantine must be the priority in the coming weeks.
“The NHS has yet to see the massive surge in cases but the numbers are rising and we must brace ourselves for that – testing is not everything but it is a vital weapon in our armoury, it helps protect staff and patients and in the weeks and months ahead it will help us contain the virus. We very much hope the new blood test showing whether someone has had the test will come soon – that too will be vital.
“Writing off NHS debt is excellent news. It may seem academic when we are fighting the greatest battle of the NHS’s history, but this will make a difference now given the pressures the service has been under and offers the prospect of a much brighter future going forward.”