Test and trace needs radical overhaul to prevent further Covid-19 surges in England – experts
The Guardian reports that England’s test-and trace system will fail to prevent further surges of Covid-19 without significant improvement. In the article concerns are raised about the use of inexperienced call-centre workers to carry out the role of clinically trained staff. The Government’s £22 billion programme is said to be under significant strain as it attempts to contact nearly triple the number of infected people and more than double the number of close contacts compared with last month.
The Guardian report.
Covid-19 vaccine to be offered to every adult by autumn, says Secretary of State
Sky News Online reports that the Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said every adult will have been offered the Covid-19 vaccine by autumn 2020. The announcement comes as Matt Hancock told Sky News more than 200,000 people are currently getting a Covid-19 vaccination every day and the government is on course to reach its target of two million vaccinations a week. Separately, BBC Online reports how Matt Hancock confirmed regular rapid testing for people without Covid-19 symptoms will be made available across England this week. The community testing regime – which will be expanded to cover all 317 local authorities – uses rapid lateral flow tests, which can return results in 30 minutes. There has been some concern about the accuracy of lateral flow testing.
Sky News Online report.
BBC Online report.
Covid-19 vaccination: which nursing staff get top priority?
The Nursing Standard reports that NHS England and NHS Improvement guidance on which healthcare staff should be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine in England has been published. It states front-line staff and nursing students at high risk of acquiring infection, of developing serious disease, or of transmitting infection to vulnerable people or colleagues should be the priority for vaccination. It follows the Prime Minister’s promise that everyone in the top four priority groups – including front-line health and social care workers – will receive the first dose of the vaccine by February 15 2020.
NHS England and NHS Improvement guidance
Nurses urged to ‘speak up’ if they are feeling unsafe in the Covid 19 pandemic
The Nursing Times reports that the four Chief Nursing Officers and the NMC have issued a joint open letter outlining how they will continue to support nursing and midwifery staff during the pandemic. It comes as Covid-19 cases across the UK continue to rise sharply. The letter reassured the professions that the NMC would “always consider the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors relevant to the environment in which a professional is working”. Referring to the NMC Code, the nurse leaders reiterated that professionals “must continue to adhere to the core principles of nursing and midwifery practice”.
Read the joint-letter on the NMC website here.
Covid crisis forces suspension of some maternity services
HSJ reports some trusts in London and the South East are closing stand alone midwifery led units and warning they cannot support home births because of high levels of demand for ambulance services from Covid 19 patients. Women in East Sussex who planned to give birth at Eastbourne District General Hospital and Crowborough Birth Centre have been told they need to go to other units. Both Eastbourne and Crowborough have standalone midwife-led units and women who have complications in labour would need to be transferred by ambulance to another hospital. Meanwhile, London’s ambulance service is asking hospital maternity teams and parents-to-be to reconsider their home birth plans. The trust has seen a significant rise in demand for ambulances due to Covid 19
London will be overwhelmed by Covid 19 in 2 weeks says leaked NHS England briefing
HSJ reports London’s hospitals are less than two weeks from being overwhelmed by Covid 19 even under the ‘best’ case scenario, according to an official briefing given to the capital’s most senior doctors. NHS England London medical director Dr Vin Diwakar set out the stark analysis to the medical directors of London’s hospital trusts. The NHS England presentation, seen by HSJ, showed that even if the number of Covid 19 patients grew at the lowest rate considered likely, and measures to manage demand, including opening London’s Nightingale hospital, were successful, the NHS in London would be short of nearly 2,000 general and acute and intensive care beds by 19 January.
Hospitals left short-staffed with half of sickness absence now linked to Covid 19
The Independent reports that according to the latest NHS England data, there are 33,285 nurses absent from work, 16,805 of these absences linked to Covid-19. There are also 4,348 doctors away from work with 2,812 due to the virus. The British Medical Association has called for all health and care staff to be vaccinated by the end of January 2020 to protect workers and prevent the NHS being overwhelmed. An NHS England spokesperson said: “In line with government guidance, NHS staff are required to isolate following community contact with a confirmed Covid case and it is a priority to keep staff safe and well, physically and mentally – with a number of support offers, including a health and wellbeing support package that has now been accessed over 600,000 times. The NHS is also rapidly accelerating rollout of the Covid vaccine, which will allow staff to continue to care for patients.”
Read the report Here
The NMC announces further expansion of the Covid-19 temporary register
There has been further coverage of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s decision to expand the temporary register by inviting more overseas-trained nurses to join, as part of “immediate action” to help the workforce deal with the latest Covid-19 surge. The NMC published a joint statement announcing the expansion of the temporary register together with the four UK chief nursing officers. This was reported in the Nursing Standard and a number of daily newspapers.
Read Statement Here