NHS Health Chief calls for return of facemasks and social distancing

pharmafile | April 20, 2022 | News story | Research and Development  

Chris Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers, which represents trusts has urged ministers to discuss “sensible precautions” for the public, in an effort to reduce pressure on health services. Hopson shared that other European countries have settled on an intermediary point of mask wearing, social distancing, and outdoor socializing.

Hopson has argued against the UK’s “all or nothing” approach, the Times reported: “There is a concern across the NHS that the government doesn’t seem to want to talk about coronavirus anymore,” he shared. “But we think we need a proper grown-up national debate about what living with COVID-19 actually means.”

Hopson blamed the pretence that the virus “doesn’t exist anymore, and that nobody needs to take any precautions,” was one of the reasons for the current prevalence of infection.

“Nobody is arguing we should go back to draconian lockdown restrictions, but this is not all or nothing,” the health chief shared.

Many doctors have disagreed, however, arguing calls for restrictions distracted from a larger discussion about internal issues with the NHS. The latest monthly figures published by NHS England for March revealed that over 22,500 patients, or one in 10, were delayed for 12 hours or more to be seen by a health care professional in A&E. This number represents the highest number of 12-hour waits on record.

The virus is putting considerable strain on hospitals, with 16,000 patients currently hospitalised with COVID-19, a figure double that of a few weeks ago. A total of 27,255 positive cases were recorded in the UK in the figures from Thursday, April 14.

70,000 health service staff are currently off sick, 40% with COVID-19.

In February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of all legal COVID restrictions in England.

Ana Ovey

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