Self-isolation of NHS staff preventing efforts to address backlog
Wednesday 21 July 2021
Following the Government’s decision to proceed with the final stage of lockdown in England on Monday 19 July, the Association of Anaesthetists would like add its voice to opinion of those who are advising the public to remain vigilant. We also support the continuation of wearing a face-covering in busy public places, particularly indoors, and by following the hands, face, space, fresh air guidance.
The Association of Anaesthetists supports calls made by the Royal College of Anaesthetists and Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine to exempt fully-vaccinated NHS staff from having to self-isolate if they receive a notification from the COVID app. We appreciate that the Government has said that from 16 August anyone who receives a notification from the COVID app will not have to self-isolate if they are fully-vaccinated, but the next few weeks are critical. Many intensive care units will continue to rely on significant numbers of peri-operative care/theatre staff. So with cases and hospital admissions rising rapidly among those who are not vaccinated, the NHS’s resources are under significant pressure, pressure that will not be eased by self-isolating staff unable to carry out their duties.
We have come a long way in recent months, and have taken enormous strides in combatting this virus, but COVID-19 is still very much with us. Staff right across the NHS have shown phenomenal resilience in treating patients while under immense pressure during the past eighteen months. The public, businesses, schools, public transport operators and all others have all played a huge part in helping reduce the spread of the virus, and we urge everyone to continue doing so. There is still some way to go in combating COVID-19, and as we continue a gradual and welcome return to normality, it is vital that we all do so with caution and vigilance.
Association of Anaesthetists