Commenting on today’s NHS performance data, Dr Simon Walsh, deputy chair BMA consultants committee, said:
“Seeing the extraordinary rise in the numbers of people going to Emergency Departments serves to reinforce the need for the Westminster Government to reconsider its plans to relax all Covid restrictions from the 19th July.
“Over-crowded Emergency Departments already cause harm, even without a pandemic, so it seems utterly illogical that the Westminster Government is pushing ahead with full easing of COVID-19 restrictions. When you add that to the news that there are now 5.3 million people on the waiting list, it’s vital that we keep infections down to reduce the pressure on the NHS as much as possible.
“There is such a disconnect between what many doctors are seeing in their day-to-day roles – enormous pressure on hospitals, over-crowding in waiting rooms and emergency attendances soaring – and the fact that in ten days’ time, all restrictions could be eased. Mandatory wearing of masks in confined public spaces, improved ventilation and maintaining of social distancing where possible should be non-negotiable to prevent a spike in infections which could push all NHS services to breaking point, and will reverse any of the progress that has been started by doctors tackling the waiting lists.
“The link between infections and hospitalisations has been weakened but not been broken, so right now there needs to be time to allow the NHS to tackle the waiting lists, support those patients who need the most urgent care, and prevent a catastrophic third wave of Covid.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.