NHS Providers' response to suggestions to further cut the COVID-19 isolation period to less than seven day

29 December 2021

Commenting on suggestions to further cut the COVID-19 isolation period to less than seven days, Chris Hopson the chief executive of NHS Providers said:

"Trust leaders are currently grappling with the need to keep vulnerable patients safe from catching COVID-19 in a healthcare setting and ensuring staff who are having to isolate due to COVID-19 can safely return to work as quickly as possible. The key concept here is safe return.

"Trusts have worked very hard over the last 18 months to minimise levels of nosocomial infection – COVID-19 caught in a healthcare setting – and we must follow the science and evidence on what is safe and what is not. It was reassuring that the UK Health Security Agency said that the recent change in the required isolation periods from 10 days to seven with two consecutive daily lateral flow tests offered similar levels of protection. 

"Given the current pressures on NHS services due to staff absences, trust leaders are keen that everything possible is done, as quickly as possible, to maximise rapid safe return of staff to work. That includes ensuring appropriate timely access to both PCR and lateral flow testing, both of which are currently proving problematic for some trusts."

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