NHS Providers response to COVID-19 staff testing and the latest NHS test and trace data
25 June 2020
Commenting on yesterday's Ministerial Statement and letter to the NHS frontline on staff testing, and today's release of the latest weekly NHS Test and Trace data, chief executive Chris Hopson said:
On staff testing:
"Given the risk of covid-19 infection in health and care settings, the NHS must provide maximum protection to staff and patients. Ideally the NHS would regularly test all staff and patients, irrespective of whether they showed symptoms or not. The medical and scientific advice is that regular testing is needed at least twice a week to be effective. But there is currently insufficient testing capacity to achieve this.
"It's far from ideal that, as a nation, we are still having to make sub-optimal decisions on the basis of insufficient testing capacity.
"We also still need clarity on the forward strategy here - is the Government seeking to build testing capacity to allow regular testing of all staff or not? If it is, when will that capacity will be available? If it isn’t, why not?"
On today's NHS Test and Trace data:
"There is still a significant gap between the number of positive tests and those entering the NHS Test and Trace system. The Government says this is largely due to the number of positive hospital tests who don’t need to enter the NHS Test and Trace system. But we need more, clearer, data to show how big the problem is.
"It's concerning to see a fall in the proportion of contacts reached of both positive cases and of close contacts subsequently identified. We would like to understand why this has occurred. And we need to be clear what level of performance the Government believes is appropriate and when it expects to reach that point.
"There are still many questions that need answering before we can be confident that we have a fit for purpose regime, let alone a world class one."