This is not the time to be complacent around lockdown easing, warns the BMA, as doctors fear second peak

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Published: Monday 1 June 2020

The BMA is warning against complacency in the efforts to tackle the spread of Covid-19 as lockdown measures are relaxed in England – while a major survey of doctors reveals fears around a second peak overwhelming the health service.

The BMA’s latest tracker survey of more than 7,000 doctors found that almost half of respondents were not confident in their ability to manage a second influx of Covid-19 cases1.

The survey results come at a time when the latest ONS figures indicate there remains significant community spread of the infection – with an estimated 8,000 new cases daily – while lockdown measures are being eased in England.

The BMA says that to reduce the risk of a second peak and avoid the loss of more lives to Covid-19, the priorities from government must be2:

  • A widescale, accurate and systematic approach to test, trace, isolate, support and follow-up with people with Covid-19 symptoms or those who have come into contact with people with symptoms.
  • To take mitigating actions preventing the public and workers from contracting and spreading the virus while carrying out essential duties.
  • Supporting the public in adhering to social distancing and infection control measures as restrictions are relaxed.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:

“As the Government relaxes lockdown measures, we absolutely must not forget that the infection rate in the community remains worryingly high, with 8,000 new cases daily. The risk from this highly infectious illness remains significant and if there is further spread thousands more families could lose loved ones before their time. That is why it’s vital that we have a fully functioning system of test, trace and isolate running seamlessly now with full transparency.

“Of course, as doctors we understand the impact that lockdown has had on people’s health and wellbeing and how eager people are to return to some semblance of normal life. But this must be done gradually and sensibly, and the Government must also take every measure possible to support the public and employers in stopping the spread of the virus, whether that’s in outdoor places, reuniting with friends and loved ones, or returning to work.

“Doctors have been working tirelessly during the pandemic to care for patients and save as many lives as possible, putting their own safety, health and wellbeing at risk3. And as we sadly know all too well many have already lost their own lives in the fight against this deadly virus. Doctors working on the front line are therefore rightfully worried about the devastating impact a second peak could have for their patients, the health service and the wider population.
“This is not the time to be complacent.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a 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.

  1. 7,268 responded to the question: “How confident are you about your ability to manage patient demand if there is a second peak of Covid-19?” 1,924 (18%) said “Not at all confident at all”, while 2,149 (29.57%) said “Not very confident”. The survey ran between May 26 and May 28. Further results to be published soon.
  2. More details can be found on the BMA’s easing the lockdown principles and priorities here.
  3. More information on the pandemic’s impact on doctors’ wellbeing can be found here.

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