Responding to the latest Downing Street press conference, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, urged caution as restrictions are lifted to avoid tearing up 'roadmap to freedom'.
“For months, schools have played a critical role in enabling NHS staff to tackle the pandemic by educating their children in school. The Prime Minister is right to now herald the wider return to school as welcome news for millions of families and teachers, and we hope it will support young people’s well-being across the country. However, with around 10,000 COVID patients still in hospital, admissions eight times greater than last summer, and expectations that the R number will rise again, the next steps need to be cautious and sure-footed.”
“The Deputy Chief Medical Officer has made it clear that given the current level of new cases, a fourth wave of Covid-19 is a genuine risk, and that would be devastating for the NHS. Decision makers need to keep an unwavering close eye on the data in the days and weeks ahead, and must not be afraid to put their foot on the brake if that’s what’s needed to keep us moving safely forward along that 'roadmap to freedom'."
This comes as the NHS Confederation warns that the NHS in England could face a hidden waiting list of nearly six million people who have not come forward or been referred for treatment yet due to the significant disruption brought about by the pandemic.