NHS can’t afford to lose staff to testing shortages
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson told BBC Breakfast that the NHS “simply can’t spare members of staff waiting for tests, not being able to come into work” and patients unable to get tests.
“There is a significant impact and a growing impact on the NHS, and that is a problem,” he said.
“Nobody knows how widespread this problem is, nobody knows how long it’s going to go on for, nobody knows, for example, given that there are scarcities of tests, about who’s going to be prioritised for those tests that are available.”
‘Moonshot’ programme to come in phases
Sir John Bell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s aim to test millions of people per day in rapid testing would come in stages.
A report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) said the UK has drawn up plans to eventually carry out up to 10 million Covid-19 tests a day by early next year.
Sir John said: “Let’s back off the 10 million a day,” adding: “It’ll be two or three million I think, in the first instance.”
Asked whether he had advised the Prime Minister not to use the word “moonshot”, Sir John said: “Well, I I do remember the space shuttle Challenger.
“So there are several ways to do moonshot. Apollo 13 (sic) was great, Challenger was not so great.”
Second wave is sparking more demand for tests – Oxford Professor
Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, who has been overseeing the Government’s antibody test programme and advising ministers, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that a “second wave” of Covid-19 had led to a surge in demand for tests.
He said: “I think what’s going wrong is the second wave.
“A month ago they had spare capacity in testing – significant spare capacity – but I think what has been underestimated was the speed at which the second wave would arrive, but also the pressure put on the system from children returning to school, and the testing demands associated with that, and people increasingly out and about.
“So, I think they are definitely behind the curve in terms of getting the necessary tests for what we need today.”
Sir John said there would be a “significant increase” in testing capacity over the next two weeks.
“But this will get worse because of course we haven’t hit winter yet – we haven’t all started to sniffle, get fevers, get colds, and that’s going to add additional confusion to the problem,” he said.
“The demand will go up. The real question is whether they can get supply in a position where it can outpace demand, and that’s the challenge at the moment.”
No stopping for chats under ‘mingling’ rules
Asked if two families of four stopping for a chat on the way to the park constituted “mingling”, Home Secretary Priti Patel told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is mingling.
“I think it is absolutely mingling.
“You have got to put this in the context of coronavirus and keeping distance, wearing masks.
“The rule of six is about making sure that people are being conscientious and not putting other people’s health at risk.”
Ms Patel added: “Mingling is people coming together. That is my definition of mingling.”
The Government is “surging capacity” in local lockdown areas and tests are available within a 10-mile radius, Home Secretary Priti Patel said.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, she said it was unacceptable that people have been unable to get tests, adding: “Clearly there is much more work that needs to be undertaken with Public Health England and the actual public health bodies in those particular local areas.
“As a Government we work with Public Health England to surge where there is demand in local hotspot areas and we continue to do that.”
On access to testing, she said the majority of tests are available within a 10-mile radius.
“It seems to me there’ll be extreme cases where people can’t get to test locations within that radius but that doesn’t mean that Public Health England are not working night and day to boost capacity,” she added.
‘It’s wrong to say tests aren’t available’ – Patel
Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was “wrong to say” that there were no tests available after she was quizzed about the long delays in trying to book a test in Bolton where the infection rate is the highest in England.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, she said: “Tests are available, you’ve heard me say, particularly in local lockdown areas, I’ve seen this myself, I’ve seen the teams that have been working on this.
“Mobile testing is going in, capacity is going into local areas where lockdowns have been undertaken and are taking place.
“I think it is wrong to say tests are not available, new book-in slots are being made available every single day, mobile testing units are being made available.
“And on top of that home testing kits are being issued across the country but specifically in local lockdown areas.”
A warning to Priti Patel’s neighbours here…
No magic solution to testing – Patel
Home Secretary Priti Patel defended the Government’s record on coronavirus testing.
Ms Patel told Times Radio: “Testing capacity is increasing.
“Our capacity is at the highest level it has been since coronavirus.”
She added: “I think we have to recognise this is challenging.
“There is no magic solution to say that it is all going to be perfect.”
NHS must come first for testing, says health chief
Health staff and patients should be prioritised regarding coronavirus testing, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson has said.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If you have got a demand-capacity mismatch what you need to do is, kind of, prioritise really clearly in terms of work out who should have greatest access to tests.
“Now, clearly from the NHS’s point of view we would want to have our staff tested and we would also want to have our patients who are needing treatment. They are the people who are the real priorities.”
Good news for online grocery giant Ocado:
Retailer Ocado has said it is set to deliver full-year underlying earnings of at least £40 million thanks to surging demand for online groceries amid the pandemic.
The group said its retail business – a joint venture with high street giant Marks & Spencer – saw revenues jump 52 per cent to £587.3 million in its third quarter to August 30.
It said sales growth picked up on the previous three months as customer demand remained high amid a shift to online supermarket shopping.
The group said its switchover to selling M&S products on September 1 had seen average shopper baskets rise by around five items and also saw its biggest ever forward order day, on the day of launch.
Ocado said: “While uncertainties remain over the scale, and duration, of the ongoing impact of social distancing restrictions in the UK, the strong trading performance of Ocado Retail in the first three quarters of the year, combined with the impact of operational leverage in the retail business, suggest, given current trends, a full-year Ebitda result for Ocado Group of at least £40 million.”
Here’s a breakdown of today’s unemployment figures:
Coronavirus still having ‘big impact on world of work’
ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: “Some effects of the pandemic on the labour market were beginning to unwind in July as parts of the economy reopened.
“Fewer workers were away on furlough and average hours rose.
“The number of job vacancies continued to recover into August, too.
“Nonetheless, with the number of employees on the payroll down again in August and both unemployment and redundancies sharply up in July, it is clear that coronavirus is still having a big impact on the world of work.”
The number of UK workers on payrolls fell by 695,000 between March and August due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Office for National Statistics has confirmed.
Police chief calls for clarity over rule of six
The national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales has called for guidance over enforcement of the rule of six.
In response to a question about having “more guidance” on Good Morning Britain, John Apter responded: “Maybe we should have ‘guidance’, because we haven’t had any yet.”
Mr Apter said he understood the Government faced a “very fast-moving” and complicated situation.
“But my colleagues who are on the front line trying to interpret this law, trying to educate and work with the public, are now being accused of asking (people) to snitch on their neighbours.”
He also said the community needed to manage its expectations of police in enforcing the new rule.
“We do not have loads of extra police officers. We’re already trying to manage increasing demand. We’re not going to be able to attend every call.”
We begin with concerns over testing shortages:
NHS staff have been forced to stay off work and quarantine due to the lack of coronavirus testing, health leaders have warned.
Hospitals in Bristol, Leeds and London have raised concerns over the weekend about tests being unavailable for health workers.
NHS Providers, which represents NHS trust leaders, warned that the recovery of normal NHS services was being put in jeopardy.
Scotland Yard says it is deploying resources across the capital to help enforce tighter restrictions on social gatherings following changes in the coronavirus regulations
DAC Matt Twist, leading the Met’s response to Coronavirus, said: “Coronavirus has had an enormous impact on London and the life of Londoners and my thoughts are with all those who have battled the virus or who have lost loved ones. Our city has made huge sacrifices since the start of lockdown in March and officers across the Met have been working around the clock to keep London safe and support our heroic health colleagues.
“Throughout this period, the vast majority of Londoners have complied with the regulations. Today’s changes are an important step to reduce the spread of the virus and I would urge everyone to take them seriously and comply.
“We will be deploying resources across the capital to engage with groups of more than six to highlight the risks and regulations. Where necessary, officers will enforce the regulations. We will be working closely with the London boroughs and their enforcement teams, and doing all we can to persuade Londoners to take the threat seriously. Where people just won’t listen, and are putting everyone at risk, we absolutely will take enforcement action.
“It is very clear that we cannot control the spread of the virus through enforcement alone, and we need Londoners to work with us. Therefore, please continue to act responsibly – maintain social distancing, respect the new regulations and guidance, and help keep yourself, your friends and family safe.”
People drink and dine out in Soho as the Metropolitan Police says it will deploy resources across the capital to enforce the tighter restrictions on social gatherings