Free Covid tests should continue for the public and self-isolation rules must not be scrapped, according to a survey of NHS leaders.
More than 300 senior staff in England polled by the NHS Confederation found 79% strongly disagreed or disagreed with the plan to stop free access to Covid-19 tests for the public.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil his plan for living with coronavirus on Monday, with ministers having suggested that free tests will be axed.
In the survey, 94% of the 307 NHS leaders polled said testing for health staff and other key workers must also continue. At present, NHS staff are asked to test at home twice a week.
Professor Dame Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said: “This poll confirms what many of us have been thinking and saying since the announcement about relaxing the rules early in England was made.
“That is that it all feels very sudden and more driven as much by the current political pressures than by robust scientific guidance.
“We do have to learn to live safely with Covid in the medium term; that does not mean pretending the threat to our health and in some cases life simply no longer exists.
“We should take a more gradual, phased approach to relaxing the rules and carefully watch what happens to the rates of infection – particularly in healthcare settings or other environments where people are particularly at risk.
“We also need the ONS survey of cases to continue so that we have accurate data on which to base future decisions.”
Assuming the Covid crisis will eventually calm down, which is there is no guarantee, a doctor took to Twitter to outline the long-term infrastructure of the NHS is at risk regardless of the covid crisis.
Dr Dan Goyal a NHS Medical Consultant has written a thread about the current state of the NHS and it makes, at times, troubling reading.
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