NHS Providers on coronavirus (26.03.20)

26 March 2020

Staff testing has to be top priority

The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said:

"Trust leaders are telling us they need urgent clarity on the approach to staff testing for Covid-19.

"Very high numbers of staff are not able to work at the point when they are needed most due to their own symptoms or those of people they live with.

"Having access to testing would allow those who can return to get back to work more quickly, relieving the burden on hard pressed colleagues.

"Alongside this there’s pressure to accelerate and extend patient testing so they get the care they need as quickly as possible, and can be discharged more promptly, easing pressure in hospitals.

"We need the government and national NHS leaders to urgently sort this situation out to ensure that our NHS colleagues can continue to manage the outbreak and there are enough staff to care for the ever increasing numbers of very unwell patients.

"Given the pressures we are seeing, trusts need clarity about testing within the next 48 hours

Urgent clarification needed on personal protective equipment

The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:

"Ensuring NHS staff have confidence in the equipment they work with is an absolute priority for trust leaders.

"There are mounting concerns about the changes to the guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE), with a widespread perception among staff that the approach recommended by the World Health Organisation has in some ways been watered down.

"We know this is causing huge anxiety for frontline staff whose priority is to keep their patients and themselves safe.

"Trust leaders want urgent clarification about the recent change in guidance on personal protective equipment from Public Health England.

"This needs to happen in the next 48 hours.

In particular they need more information about the reasons behind that change, and a more detailed explanation setting out why the new provisions are sufficient and appropriate. Staff have to feel safe."


More Ventilators very welcome but trusts already managing the sharp end

Chief executive Chris Hopson said:

"We welcome this morning’s announcement about Dyson producing 10,000 additional ventilators, but have major concerns about how quickly they can reach the frontline. The NHS across the country is already dealing with huge numbers of critically unwell patients and are having to focus on utilising the equipment they already have in the best way. We are also hearing from our members about how their clinicians are looking for innovative ways to provide safe care and ensure the ventilators are used for those in most need."


New approaches to respond to the virus are welcome

Deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery said:

"As pressure on the NHS intensifies it makes sense to look at new ways of increasing capacity to support patients with COVID-19. 

"Preparations for the Nightingale Hospital at the Excel centre are well under way, and we may well see similar approaches at other large venues across the country.
"This approach could prove invaluable as part of the overall effort to respond to the virus, but of course will require careful planning to ensure these facilities do not divert much needed staff and resources away from trusts."




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