Responding to the latest ONS mortality figures for England and Wales, Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, said: “We are starting to see the predicted increase of deaths relating to coronavirus, which gives particular cause for concern following Government experts warning that there could be 200 deaths a day by mid-November without clear and decisive action.
“We must do everything we can to help the NHS support people who develop COVID-19, and prepare for a challenging winter, alongside bringing back more non-COVID-19 patient services – while considering the impact that any new measures or restrictions could have on non-COVID-19 deaths and the nation’s health and well-being. As a country, we have learned a great deal about the virus and its spread, meaning the NHS is in a better position now than six months ago, but we must proceed with extreme caution and ensure NHS leaders are involved in decisions that could affect their services.
“Now more than ever, we also need to make sure that the test and trace system is reliable, and that as many people as possible can be reached and asked to self-isolate so that the spread of the virus can be curtailed. We welcome the news that frontline workers will be prioritised for testing, as our members have been calling for this, but the key will be making sure they, and everyone, can access tests easily and quickly. Results must also be turned around rapidly so that those who are not infected do not have to self-isolate unnecessarily – and so that contacts can be traced rapidly enough to prevent further spread.”