I am disappointed that there has been misrepresentation around this issue.
To be very clear, I am not against regular testing of NHS staff.
I am in favour of NHS staff testing policy as advised by the Chief Medical Officer.
The Shadow Health Secretary in his opening remarks at the opposition debate said Labour are calling for weekly testing of NHS staff, “if necessary”. Instead, they called for blanket weekly testing without any qualification.
Regular testing, including weekly testing if it is deemed necessary, is essentially what the current government policy is. This approach has been clinically informed, and the NHS has now set out plans for how it will work. We are prioritising testing of all NHS staff with symptoms, regular testing of asymptomatic staff in situations where there is an incident or outbreak, and regular surveillance testing. Staff working with patients on wards, for example, will benefit from regular testing far more than NHS staff working in offices or administrative roles where they do not come into regular contact with patients.
I trust that this has clarified my position on this.
Best wishes, Ruth