Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Commons laying out plans to ease lockdown restrictions, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“The Prime Minister’s statement certainly makes the right noises in terms of caution around easing lockdown. However, health service leaders will be concerned that in setting out a series of dates, public expectations will have been raised and some of the sense of caution lost.
“Further clarity on the tipping points for the Government’s four tests is needed, alongside the commitment to stick to data, not dates. We must all be guided by the numbers and the advice of both scientists and NHS leaders, so we welcome the promise of flexibility on a local and regional basis, and would also continue to stress the importance of a robust test and trace system. Simply put, we cannot risk a repeat of past mistakes.
“Throughout this crisis, we have called for clear, consistent messaging; the public need to be able to understand the rules easily so that they can follow them. The NHS is still under immense pressure across all its services: we can cannot afford a fourth national wave of COVID-19, which would risk even greater damage to a fragile and tired health service.”