The 100K testing target is a major achievement but it misses the point

Responding to today’s Downing Street briefing, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:

“The 100,000 target has galvanised the system – it is a major achievement. But let’s be clear, access to testing continues to be the challenge in some areas, particularly for staff working in out-of-hospital settings, such as in primary and social care. We need to make sure the tests are in the right settings at the right time. 

“Health leaders report improvements but they need to see the focus shift more to home testing for their staff. Many have their own systems to complement the national effort, which can still feel uncoordinated. As we look to ease social distancing, we will need even more tests. Staff must remain a priority – and this has become even more important as the NHS steps up to resume care and treatment that has been stopped or curtailed. 

“And all this must be achieved alongside a new programme of targeted testing in the community, as part of test, track and trace. This needs to be done with local public health directors supported by a new army of local contact tracers, as well as using technology.”

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