Response to House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee Report
01 Oct 2020
Commenting on the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee Report – ‘Delivering core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond’, Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:
“We are delighted the Committee listened to the evidence we gave in June, and have taken up our recommendation of weekly testing of NHS staff. Regular testing of staff is essential to keeping hospitals free from Covid, especially as cases of the virus increase. In September we surveyed surgeons working in hospitals across the UK. We were disturbed to learn that a majority (58.6%) said asymptomatic staff were still not being tested. It is well documented that someone can have the virus but not have any symptoms. So it’s vital to test all members of the surgical team regularly, to keep both patients and staff safe - and reduce the possibility of the virus spreading.
“Testing capacity has increased since the spring, so there are no excuses now for failing to test frontline staff on a regular basis. If we are to keep surgery going this winter, and tackle the backlog of patients waiting for an operation, we must prioritise testing frontline surgical staff, as a matter of urgency.”
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