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Care homes tragedy needs to be wake-up call says NHS Confederation

Responding to today’s Downing Street briefing, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across healthcare, said:

“The tragedy of what is happening in care homes needs to be a wake-up call for everyone. It should be a priority at national and local level to see that they are given all the support we can muster. The NHS has done a remarkable job in treating very sick Covid patients in hospitals, but we now have a further major challenge which is to protect and support some of the most vulnerable in our community and importantly those who are caring for them.

 “The start of human trials of a vaccine provides a glimmer of hope on the horizon.  As soon as we do get a vaccine key workers must be given priority access, alongside vulnerable groups.

“Of course we welcome the fact that there have been millions of drop offs of personal protective equipment but these will be used in a matter of days and the reality is that many frontline workers across the NHS, including in primary, community and social care services still do not feel safe.

“The NHS expects announcements when supplies have arrived and not to be let down by guarantees of what may or may not be delivered to its services.

“Repeated failures to deliver on promises of international shipments, while domestic companies are reporting that their offers of support have been ignored, does nothing to secure their confidence, especially when access to tests continues to be an issue too.

“A detailed assessment needs to be carried out of these testing sites, particularly for health and care workers who are too unwell to drive or do not own a car. The current approach means too many staff working in frontline service simply cannot access these tests. 

“We are in a global crisis and tensions are high but all of this is putting health leaders, who want to do right by their staff and patients, in an unacceptable position.”




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  • Public Health England guidance on considerations for acute personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages 
  • NHS Confederation COVID-19 page
  • NHS Confederation response to publication of new PPE guidance
  • NHS Confederation response to Government plan to increase tests to 100,000 a day
  • The NHS Confederation is the membership body that brings together and speaks on behalf of organisations that plan, commission and provide NHS services in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. We represent hospitals, community and mental health providers, ambulance trusts, primary care networks, clinical commissioning groups and integrated care systems. To find out more, please visit: and follow us on Twitter: @NHSConfed
  • A full list of NHS Confederation press releases and statements can be accessed at its media centre.
  • For media queries, contact Neil Durham (Media and Communications Manager - 020 7799 8671 /; Jim Palmer (Senior Media Officer - 020 7799 8664 /; or Claire Patel-Campbell (Media Officer - 0113 3061 3106 / For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call the Duty Press Officer on 07880 500 726.

Editor Details

  • Company:
    • NHS Confederation
  • Name:
    • NHS Confederation
Last Updated: 22-Apr-2020