Health leaders say lack of testing access is significant barrier to restoring services

Layla McCay

Responding to reports that NHS staff are off work because of problems with testing, Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:

“Our members are telling us that lack of access to testing for staff is a major barrier to them delivering services and achieving targets set to restore services. Some trusts are offering priority testing for the local NHS workforce but this is something which could be extended.

“We are significantly concerned that some people with symptoms of COVID-19, including healthcare workers and their families, are having difficulty in accessing tests due to insufficient laboratory capacity.

“Our members, and especially in general practice, are concerned that their staff are having to self-isolate unnecessarily due to delays and difficulties in access to tests for themselves and their families – and that some are having to wait longer than expected for the results – which is putting a strain on the services they can provide.

“We need to see concrete evidence that the promised further increases in testing capacity and faster testing are achievable, and we also need immediate action to prioritise testing for key workers.”

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