Responding to news that the UK has recorded 200,000 Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic, Professor Philip Banfield, BMA council chair, said:
“Today marks a deeply tragic milestone for our country as it is confirmed that 200,000 people have lost their lives to this devastating virus. Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of those who have died, each of whom have suffered an irretrievable loss.
“This terrible loss of life must serve as an important reminder that Covid-19 has not gone away and remains a serious threat to public health. It is vital that the Government ensures that the public are well informed of the risks of Covid-19 and the steps they can take to protect themselves and others, especially at this time of rising Covid infections.
“Health and care settings must be safe for staff and patients and the Government must support this by bringing back mask wearing for patients, ensuring regular NHS staff testing and making sure that staff have access to high quality PPE. The Government must also reverse its deeply damaging decision to end Special Covid Leave which provided vital support to healthcare staff if they needed to self-isolate or became unwell with Covid or long Covid.
“The families of the people who have lost their lives to Covid, as well as the healthcare workers who have spent over two years working in the most harrowing situations, deserve answers and the nation needs assurances that we will never experience tragedy on this scale again. It is crucial that the Government demonstrates that it has a strategy to deal with both the immediate pressure of waves of heightened infection rates and the longer-term impact of Covid, including the disproportionate impact on different groups in society, underpinned by appropriate investment.
“We look forward to working with Baroness Hallett and the public inquiry to represent the frontline doctors who have sacrificed so much in the battle against Covid-19 to ensure that lessons from the pandemic are learnt sooner rather than later.”
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.
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