Responding to the Government's announcement that regular asymptomatic testing for Covid will be paused in all remaining settings from 31 August, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“NHS leaders will put their faith in the experts that this decision is the right one but after over two years of the pandemic, they know that it doesn’t take much for cases to increase again and that much of the spread of coronavirus previously, including within healthcare settings, was from people who were asymptomatic.
“As services gear up for rolling out the autumn boosters from next month, members have also reflected that the timing of this policy change could downplay how serious Covid still is and could undermine messages around the need to get vaccinated.
“This comes as the NHS is planning for what is widely expected to be the busiest winter on record with a triple threat of Covid, flu and norovirus and against a backdrop of 105,000 vacancies, crumbling estate, rising treatment backlogs and an under-supported social care sector.
“While the policy change could free up capacity within hospital and other services, it remains vital that the experts keep this position under close review and if needed, be prepared to revise it.”