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Allowing NHS staff to avoid isolation ‘desperate and potentially unsafe’, says BMA


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The BMA has said that allowing double-jabbed NHS staff, including GPs, to avoid self-isolation upon becoming a Covid contact is ‘desperate and potentially unsafe’.

And the BMA argued that instead of allowing further categories of workers to avoid isolation, amid a steep rise in people being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid app, the Government should reintroduce a more cautious approach to the virus. 

Fully-vaccinated GPs are among frontline health and social care workers that are able to avoid self-isolation in ‘exceptional circumstances’ since the start of this week (Monday 19 July).

After a risk assessment, GPs can return to work after a negative PCR test, and while having negative daily lateral flow test results for seven days.

Meanwhile, all double-jabbed contacts of Covid cases will no longer need to self-isolate from 16 August.

The BMA warned that the measure comes as hospitals and GP practices across the country are under immense demand from rising Covid infections.

But, despite the pressures being exacerbated by rising numbers of medical staff unable to work due to falling ill or self-isolating, the BMA does not believe NHS staff should be exempt from isolating.

BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘Exempting healthcare staff from self-isolation to get them back to work is a desperate and potentially unsafe policy that does not address the root problem. The safety of patients and staff must be paramount.

‘People go to see healthcare professionals in order to get better, not to risk getting infected,

and staff should not fear transmission of the virus from their own colleagues.’

Instead, he said, the Government ‘needs to wake up’ to the fact that ‘now is not the right time to abandon legal restrictions such as social distancing and mask wearing’.

‘This is not a problem about excessive pinging of the NHS app, but is a direct result of lack of effective measures by the Government that is allowing the virus to let rip throughout the nation,’ he said.

The BMA further asked the Government to ensure that staff who still choose to self-isolate must not suffer repercussions, while enhanced PPE and more FFP3 masks must be made available to the NHS.

Pulse has contacted the Department for Health and Social Care for comment.

READERS' COMMENTS [4]

Patrufini Duffy 23 July, 2021 1:35 pm

Have you noticed you don’t deserve PCR kits and a courier service, or recommended masks still? You have no fast track to ITU. The free, limitless good-doers. Doing 350 million consultations/Yr. Burning up in the heat of the High-Street melodrama. Manning the hot clinics, running vaccine programmes, doing free home visits and care home altruism. **And you keep signing up for their scheming schemes, bent over. The neurosurgeons, cardiologists, dentists and solicitors are clapping at your unawareness, the other clappers are gone, all partying and holidaying, mask free and breaking your front door down – all while you painfully procrastinate and worry over signing up to a booster programme because you have so much free time and a fear from acknowledging your spine and saying no. You’ve forgotten what your role is these days. Demoted to SHO almost. Sign up to yourself, it’ll be healthier moving forward.

John Glasspool 23 July, 2021 4:09 pm

NHS staff are regarded as expendabke by the government.

Nicholas Sharvill 23 July, 2021 6:47 pm

all a muddle to me as during the early year when we were seeing people with active known covid with only surgical masks we did not then self isolate but advised to turn of test and trace; it make no sense to me as a mask wearer double jabbed social isolate to obey any pinging
I still see far more potential covid at work who dont fulfil the official symptom list so no pcr tests that my faith in any public health policy is not terribly strong.

Dave Haddock 25 July, 2021 8:14 pm

BMA are just an embarrassment, wrong on everything.