Charities call on NHS England to bring back Covid precautions for staff
As virus cases rise by 30% in the past week, the clinically vulnerable and medics fear they will be put at risk this winter
Dr Frances Ryan writes in the Observer today (8/10/23) that healthcare charities and patient groups are calling for the reintroduction of COVID-19 precautions in NHS England, amid fears that vulnerable patients and staff will be put at risk this winter. Precautions like masks and testing were dropped earlier this year.
With COVID cases and hospitalizations rising again, charities want patients to have the right to request staff wear masks. They also want symptomatic testing reinstated for staff in all cases. Some groups are requesting asymptomatic testing for staff near high-risk patients.
Clinically vulnerable patients report missing vital care due to lack of protections. Others have been seen by symptomatic, unmasked staff despite their vulnerability. Healthcare settings pose high transmission risks with many vulnerable patients and staff interactions.
Surveys show many vulnerable patients are cancelling appointments and even vaccine boosters over COVID precaution concerns. Some chronically ill patients are postponing essential surgeries due to fears of exposure in healthcare facilities with minimal precautions.
Advocates argue simple, cost-effective measures like masking and testing could reduce risks and inequality in healthcare access. They say no patient should fear going to hospitals or clinics. More protections are urgently needed to safeguard vulnerable patients and staff this winter.
You can read the full article here.