Health chiefs want Britons to follow a string of new Covid measures to fight record infection rates in the U.K. and ease pressure on the NHS. MailOnline has more.
The NHS Confederation accused No.10 of “abandoning any interest in Covid whatsoever”, warning that hospitals are set to deal with a “brutal Easter as bad as any winter”.
The group, which acts as a representative for hospitals and ambulance trusts, called for “mitigating actions” to stop the spread of the virus, such as not meeting people indoors and wearing masks in crowded spaces.
It comes just weeks after Covid restrictions, including the legal requirement to self-isolate, were scrapped under Boris Johnson’s ‘living with Covid’ plan. And England’s £2 billion-a-month mass-testing scheme was scrapped at the start of April.
The easing of rules has coincided with infection rates spiralling to the highest levels seen throughout the pandemic, with one in 13 people estimated to be infected at the start of the month.
Health bosses say the situation – fuelled by rising Covid rates and staff sickness – is impacting its ability to tackle the record backlog of patients needing care.
Millions of patients have already been told to stay away from busy A&E units unless they are genuinely dying, while ambulance services have urged some to make their own way to hospital.
The number of virus-infected patients in hospital last week breached 20,000 – the highest since February 2021. Although, figures also show thousands aren’t primarily ill with the virus.
“The brutal reality for staff and patients is that this Easter in the NHS is as bad as any winter,” said Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation.
“But instead of the understanding and support NHS staff received during 2020 and 2021, we have a Government that seems to want to wash its hands of responsibility for what is occurring in plain sight in local services up and down the country. No.10 has seemingly abandoned any interest in Covid whatsoever. NHS leaders and their teams feel abandoned by the Government and they deserve better.”
“Mitigating actions” – including not meeting people indoors and wearing masks in crowded spaces – were needed to prevent the spread of the virus, the group said.
Worth reading in full, including the sidebar suggesting infections have peaked, based on the latest ONS infection survey.
For a less hysterical take on the ‘perfect storm’ currently afflicting the NHS, see this piece by the Daily Sceptic’s in-house doctor from yesterday.