The news comes after it was revealed yesterday that yet another healthcare worker had tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials are now looking for anyone who may have come into contact with the paramedic.
The worker is an East of England Ambulance Service paramedic from Hertfordshire.
Now, the NHS has warned nurses, doctors, paramedics and other frontline staff to self-isolate if they develop any coronavirus symptoms such as a cough or a fever.
At least six other healthcare workers – including one GP and an A&E doctor – have already been infected since the UK’s crisis began in January.
However, they have ruled out testing for staff unless they are admitted to hospital themselves, suffering suspected pneumonia or acute respiratory illness.
Public Health England has ruled out coronavirus testing for many frontline NHS staff
Staff will only be tested if they are admitted to hospital suffering suspected pneumonia or acute respiratory illness
Moreover, the NHS has told staff that in the event of “an established significant epidemic”, the organisation will be put under “extreme pressure”.
Officials acknowledge that staff shortages will occur due to “sickness or caring responsibilities”.
England’s Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whittey sent a letter to staff outlining the task faced by the NHS.
He wrote: “A significant epidemic will require healthcare professionals to be flexible in what they do.
The NHS has warned nurses, doctors, paramedics and other frontline staff to self-isolate if they develop any coronavirus symptoms such as a cough or a fever
It may entail working in unfamiliar circumstances or surroundings, or working in clinical areas outside of their usual practice for the benefit of patients and the population as a whole.
“This can be stressful and you may have concerns about both the professional practicalities and implications of working in such circumstances.
“We need to stick to the basic principles of being a good doctor.
“All doctors are expected to follow GMC guidance and use their judgement in applying the principles to the situations they face, but these rightly take account of the realities of a very abnormal emergency situation.
The NHS has told staff that in the event of ‘an established significant epidemic’, the organisation will be put under ‘extreme pressure’
Officials acknowledge that staff shortages will occur due to ‘sickness or caring responsibilities’
“We want doctors, in partnership with patients, always to use their professional judgement to assess risk and to make sure people receive safe care, informed by the values and principles set out in their professional standards.
A rational approach to varying practice in an emergency is part of that professional response.”
According to Public Health England there is no need for any adults in good health to be tested should they develop symptoms.
They said: “Most adults in good health who develop symptoms will fully recover, and the CMO has advised that it is not necessary for them to be tested.
The UK’s four-stage coronavirus battle plan
“However, to protect the most vulnerable they should stay at home for seven days to reduce the spread in the community.
“People who are generally well will not be tested but should manage their illness at home.
“However, if people do develop more serious symptoms, they should visit 111 online or call the 111 helpline.”
Meanwhile, a leaked document from Public Health England has revealed the crisis is now expected to last until spring 2021.
According to Public Health England there is no need for any adults in good health to be tested should they develop symptoms
It fears that 80 percent of the population are likely to be infected in the next 12 months with up to 7.9 million going to hospital.
Pensioners aged over 70 will be asked not to go out for up to four months for their own “self-protection”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged to “stop at nothing” to limit the disease’s impact and said everyone’s life will be affected.
Millions of Europeans are in lockdown, only able to leave homes under limited circumstances.
Published at Mon, 16 Mar 2020 01:06:00 +0000