Trusts clear decisions over self-isolation periods should be led by the science

13 January 2022

Responding to an announcement by the health and social care secretary today that self-isolation periods will be reduced from seven days to five, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery said:

"Trust leaders have consistently argued that decisions over self-isolation periods should be led by the science.

"There has always been the need to balance getting staff who have been isolating due to COVID-19 back to work as quickly as possible on the one hand, with the need to protect patients and other staff from COVID-19 cross infection in healthcare settings on the other.

"This is particularly important given the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant and the impact this could have for vulnerable patients in healthcare settings.

"Trust leaders will welcome findings from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) that the new arrangements do not substantially increase risk of nosocomial infection. This will mean their staff can come back to work sooner, if lateral flow tests allow.

"This is a significant development given the huge operational pressures facing the service and the risks to patient care associated with the current level of COVID-19 isolation driven staff absences.

"Trust leaders will continue to follow UKHSA guidance to ensure everything possible is done to minimise the risks of nosocomial infections."

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