Cautious approach out of lockdown ‘absolutely crucial’ or ‘NHS will not cope’, says BMA

by BMA media office

Press release from the BMA.

Location: England
Last reviewed: 22 February 2021
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Responding to the statement1 from the Prime Minster in the House of Commons today on the Government's roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said:

“We support the more cautious approach adopted in the Government’s roadmap, which the BMA has said is absolutely crucial for a safe and sustainable route out of the current lockdown.

“As stated by the Prime Minister, we agree that this must be driven by data not dates, but given that the data available at this early stage is limited, monitoring and assessing the impact at each stage, such as schools returning, is absolutely crucial.

“Despite the promise of an ‘irreversible’ road out, the Government must not be afraid to put on the brakes if the situation begins to escalate again and must be transparent about decisions taken based on clear metric trigger points.

“With NHS staff completely exhausted after a gruelling and incredibly challenging year, we simply cannot afford to repeat past mistakes and risk a further surge in infection rates as the NHS will not cope. Indeed, the only way we can tackle the largest backlog of care the health service has ever faced is with a very measured and gradual easing that allows the NHS to have the capacity to treat the millions of patients currently on waiting lists. 

“While ongoing restrictions are necessary, they continue to take an enormous toll on the mental health and financial security of many across the country. The Government must be forthcoming with support for those who need it and seek to mitigate the impact of widening health inequalities for those disproportionately impacted as a result of the pandemic.

“The enormous efforts of healthcare workers in delivering the hugely successful vaccination programme will continue to underpin our efforts to safely ease out of lockdown. The Government must communicate clearly to the public, even those now vaccinated, the importance of adhering to measures to reduce infection spread.”

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.

  1. Prime Minister’s statement to House of Commons.