Protection of the public’s health and the most vulnerable must be an ‘absolute priority’ as lockdown eases, says BMA

Press release from BMA media team
Published: Thursday 28 May 2020

Responding to the announcement today that the Government will move forward with the next stage of easing the lockdown, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said:

“The protection of the public’s health must be the absolute priority in easing lockdown with a health-driven strategy that does not result in the spread of infection or risk a spike in cases.

“Given what we now know about who is the most susceptible to Covid-19, it is crucial that this strategy adequately protects the most vulnerable and at-risk in society and that the public adheres to the new social distancing measures.

“The new test and trace system is central to the easing of lockdown and as such, the Government must ensure that it has the capacity to meet demand. Additionally, local authorities and PHE units, many of whom are already overwhelmed, must have the resources and ability to respond to Covid-19 outbreaks at a local level in an agile and effective way.

“The Government has committed to turning around 100% of tests within 24 hours. However, with a BMA survey revealing that less than a quarter of doctors are getting their results back within that time, and 10% waiting between four days and a week, accelerating this process must be a priority. It is also crucial that the data on the number of those tested is transparent and readily available.

“Importantly, given the risk that many health and social care workers faced in recent months, we need assurances that they will have access to adequate PPE to carry out their work safely, particularly if there is a surge in demand. NHS services must also have the capacity and capability to maintain the current covid-19 care while adapting to the resumption of routine services.

“The Government must ensure that the appropriate adjustments are in place for those returning to work and resuming normal activities and that its messages on social distancing and infection control are clear and consistent for the public to follow.”

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. BMA survey findings for question - How long after your test did it take to get the results?
    Total number of respondents – 1,116
    1 day – 21.68% - 242 respondents
    2 – 3 day – 44.35% - 495 respondents
    4-7 day – 10.84 % - 121 respondents
    8-14 days – 1.52% - 17 respondents
    15 days and over – 0.45% - 5 respondents
    No results received yet – 17.47% - 195 respondents
    Can’t remember – 3.67% - 41 respondents

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