Frontline NHS staff to start being tested for coronavirus from next week

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said NHS staff would start being tested for coronavirus from next week, including critical care nurses, intensive care staff, ambulance workers and GPs.

Friday, 27th March 2020, 5:35 pm
Updated Friday, 27th March 2020, 5:36 pm

Simon Stevens said testing of frontline NHS staff to determine whether they have or have had coronavirus will start next week.

He said: “From an NHS perspective, we think it is urgently important that we are able to test frontline workers who are off sick or otherwise isolating.

“That’s why the work that Public Health England has been leading is so important because it means we are going to be able to double this time next week the number of tests we have been doing this week.

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Michael Gove leading the coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street on Friday, March 27.

“I can say that today we will be rolling out staff testing across the NHS, starting next week with the critical care nurses, other staff in intensive care, emergency departments, ambulance services, GPs.

“As testing volumes continue to increase, we want to widen that to essential public service workers, as well as our social care workers, and continue with patient testing that is so vital.”

Sir Simon thanked the public for the Clap For Carers effort, saying it would have meant an “enormous amount” to NHS staff to know the “whole country is behind them”.

He said in the last two weeks 18,000 doctors and nurses have returned to practise registers after “answering the calls to arms”.

“It was therefore very gratifying for our staff across the NHS to see this remarkable outpouring in the Clap For Carers last night,” he said.

“For many nurses coming home from a day at hospital or for other staff returning to start again for the night shift it would have meant an enormous amount to know that the whole country is behind them.”

He also said that across England there are now 33,000 hospital beds available to treat coronavirus patients.

Currently, there are 6,200 confirmed Covid-19 patients being treated in English hospitals and he said that number is “only bound to rise in the coming days”.