Testing withdrawal will cause safety worries

Decision must be kept under review

Responding to the health secretary’s announcement today (Wednesday) that asymptomatic Covid testing is no longer required for NHS staff, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“Clearing treatment backlogs and dealing with all the other NHS pressures relies on limiting the spread of coronavirus infection in health settings as much as possible.

“NHS staff were already alarmed that last month’s withdrawal of Covid pay and leave measures could be a backward step. Dispensing with testing requirements will make them even more worried about safety and the resilience of services.

“Decisions about regular testing should be based on clinical risk and not on factors such as cost. The price will be far greater if hospitals become overwhelmed.

“Staff who are themselves vulnerable will need reassurance they’ll be risk assessed and have continued access to free test kits.

“This decision must be kept under careful review and asymptomatic testing has to be restored as soon as possible if infections begin to escalate.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts: 
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk
Garfield Myrie M: 07950 116356 E: g.myrie@unison.co.uk