Responding to a commitment from Boris Johnson to a target to get all tests turned around within 24 hours by the end of June, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“Quick turnaround of test results is vital to reducing the spread of the virus. It will allow people to self-isolate quickly if tested positive and, where negative, return to work.
“We are tempted to say, ‘please no more targets and deadlines’. Every time one is set there is a risk it cannot be delivered or at least not delivered in the way expected. But the ambition is the right one – rapid results are key to the whole Test and Trace programme and vital to the safety of staff and patients.
“None of us doubt the government’s commitment to make this happen but NHS leaders and staff, and the wider public, will not want to see any more targets missed.
“It is much more difficult moving out of lockdown than moving in. We are all desperate to see the R number remain below 1 and Test and Trace to be up and running effectively. We will need to watch closely and be prepared to respond quickly if there are spikes in infections in some areas.”