NHS Confederation responds to PCR testing change

Matthew Taylor responds to the UKHSA announcement that symptomless people with a positive lateral flow test will no longer need a confirmatory PCR.

5 January 2022



The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed that from 11 January, people without Covid-19 symptoms will no longer need to confirm a positive lateral flow test with a PCR.

In response, Matthew Taylor chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“Staff absences across the NHS are double what they would typically be at this time of year and this is on top of around 93,000 vacancies and so, at a time of extreme pressure any measure that can enable health and care staff to safely return to work will be welcomed by health leaders.

“However, we need to understand the rationale behind this change as there is a risk it could dilute the country’s infection prevention and control response and limit our ability to both track the prevalence of coronavirus and identify potential new variants. If this is the case, then it needs to be considered as part of a wider strategy that is clearly explained and risk assessed.”