The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) wrote to Dido Harding, head of the government’s £ 10 billion test program and trace, warning that staff absences could hamper the flu vaccination campaign which ministers say is vital to stop the NHS become overwhelmed this winter.
Patient care will suffer because practicing family doctors and nurses will have to isolate themselves at home at the same time as schools, universities and some workplaces reopen – leading more people to ask. a date – he said.
Prof Martin Marshall, president of RCGP, told Sky News that logistics and testing and traceability capacity must “urgently improve” to help combat COVID-19[feminine[feminine.
“General practitioners tell us that they have difficulty accessing tests for themselves and for their teams. We just can’t afford to have to isolate practice staff, which takes them away from frontline clinical practice, ”he said.
“Lack of access to testing is already having an impact on capacity in general medicine, as staff isolate themselves while awaiting results, and the care that can be provided to patients.
“We also want general practitioners to have access to tests for patients who have a clinical need. Currently, the only alternative is to direct them to Test and Trace.
“It will help us differentiate between COVID-19 and other potentially serious conditions. “
The disclosure about medical workers who cannot take a test follows weeks of growing concern over the number of teachers, parents of school-aged children and NHS staff who have encountered problems – some being told to travel hundreds of miles to be checked.
Professor Marshall added: “If patients with symptoms of COVID-19 or people at risk of infection start going to GP appointments as their first port of call, it could jeopardize infection control measures that have been put in place and has the potential to further spread the virus.
“Without sufficient capacity and resources, it would also risk overloading general practice, which is already under pressure with consultation rates returning to pre-pandemic levels and general practitioners and our teams are preparing to offer the largest vaccination program. against influenza never achieved and for a possible second wave.
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The college letter comes as official figures showed the number of tests processed in the UK declined for three consecutive days between Sunday and Tuesday, peaking at just 188,865 on Tuesday – around 35,000 below the recent average and the number the 13 day low.
Boris Johnson has pledged to dramatically increase capacity so that 500,000 tests a day can be performed by the end of October in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus by identifying outbreaks and isolating those infected.