"I have received a number of emails & comments online linking to misleading articles about regular Coronavirus testing for NHS staff & care staff.
To be clear I am not against regular testing of NHS (or care staff) and I strongly support the NHS staff testing policy as advised by clinical experts such as the Chief Medical Officer. This includes continuing to prioritise testing of all NHS staff with symptoms, regular testing of asymptomatic staff in situations where there is an outbreak, and regular testing of staff. What the Labour Party’s motion called for would be completely unfeasible and is simply a political stunt.
All NHS and care staff are already prioritised for regular testing. Labour’s motion called for ALL NHS staff and care staff (nearly 3 million people) to receive weekly testing. This would include staff who are not in frontline roles or have zero face to face contact with patients- such as many managers and administration staff who may even be working from home at the time.
The vote that took place was during an Opposition Day debate this week – votes that take place on Opposition Days are not binding (they never are or can be). Therefore, whatever the outcome of the vote it would have had absolutely zero impact on the way current testing is being carried out. Proving again that the motion is very clearly an attempt at political point scoring.
Over the last few months, we have significantly increased our testing capacity in this country – we are now able to carry out more than 200,000 tests a day. The Labour proposition for untargeted testing could have used up capacity for others who needed to be tested. Right now, anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus can get a test to check if they have the virus.
I want everyone to be able to get tested where it’s clinically advisable. This should always be a medical decision NOT a political one."
SEE MORE: Get a free NHS test today to check if you have coronavirus now. Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can get a free test to check if they have the virus. Some people without symptoms can have the test too: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-an-antigen-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/
SEE MORE: Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested