The introduction of tighter restrictions across more parts of England is the right thing to do, says the BMA, given evidence that the virus and in particular the new, more virulent strain, is continuing to escalate nationally, increasing hospital admissions and deaths.
The Association, which represents doctors across the UK, had already made clear that the NHS and its staff are at the point of collapse and as the infection levels continue to rise, there is a growing fear that health services will simply not be able to cope.
With many hospitals already full to capacity, the BMA acknowledges that today’s decisions, while needed, will be very tough for many people, but that they are necessary to save lives and protect the NHS.
BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “The BMA has always maintained that it is imperative the Government acts swiftly with actions based on evidence and science.
“The rocketing case numbers mean that moving more of the country into Tier 4 is a necessary step to control the virus, and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed to the point that local services are unable to meet the needs of seriously ill patients.
“With a possible third strain emerging in South Africa, the second strain in the UK gaining ground and some GPs here reporting delays in deliveries of the vaccine, we are in a very precarious position. Given how quickly cases are increasing, further restrictions may be necessary in the coming days and weeks, and the Government must be ready to act quickly if the science supports this.
“We must not be under any illusion of the serious state the NHS is in and the impact that will soon have on patients, not just with Covid, but a whole host of other serious illnesses at this time. The measures are necessary to protect our loved ones and those most vulnerable in our society. But tighter restrictions are also needed if we want our fragile health service to have any chance of coping with the incredible demand it is experiencing.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association 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.