NHS Confederation CEO Niall Dickson also called for the public to exercise common sense as the row rumbled on. His group represents around 500 organisations, including hospitals, mental health providers and ambulance trusts. Mr Dickson said: “Because of the way this story has unfolded there is certainly concern among our members, health leaders, that it could damage staff and public confidence in official guidance.
“You can’t say too often that the guidance has actually saved thousands of lives and, I think, if we look forward over the next few weeks, following that guidance is going to be as vital as ever.”
He also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There is concern that this has been a distraction and that it’s not been helpful, and the fear is that it has made people on the front line frustrated and fearful.
“We have seen difficulties already with guidance – the supplies of protective equipment, the whole testing issue of supplies and distribution there – and that can lead to frustration, fear, and again, lack of confidence on the front line.
“And actually it’s going to be more complex because as lockdown eases the advice is, frankly, less binary and people have to exercise more discretion.”
But he added: “To be fair to Government it is enormously difficult to maintain that confidence when there are so many voices and views, and of course nowadays social media is such a big part of where people get their information.”
Mr Dickson also said that scenes of crowds flocking to beaches and parks during lockdown were also “a matter of concern”. He went on: “The advice that people have been given now is to exercise a degree of discretion. It’s more complicated than simply saying ‘stay at home’.
“The appeal has to be to individuals to exercise their common sense, their discretion, going forward.
“Clearly this whole episode has made that message more difficult.”
Published at Wed, 27 May 2020 09:15:00 +0000