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Test all hospital staff if one member has COVID-19, suggests health leader

NHS England director for acute care says the move would help to ‘keep a lid on the outbreaks’
Covid testing centre

NHS England director for acute care says the move would help to keep a lid on the outbreaks

All hospital staff might need to be tested for COVID-19 if a single member of staff contracts the disease, NHS England director for acute care Keith Willett has told nurses.

Speaking at the Matron Networks second virtual conference on 9 July, Professor Willet said: Test far more people than you would expect to test.

If it is one or two people [with COVID-19], make sure you test all of that department, not just the wards or area theyve been involved in.

He added that if we really are going

NHS England director for acute care says the move would help to ‘keep a lid on the outbreaks’


Picture: Alamy

All hospital staff might need to be tested for COVID-19 if a single member of staff contracts the disease, NHS England director for acute care Keith Willett has told nurses.

Speaking at the Matron Network’s second virtual conference on 9 July, Professor Willet said: ‘Test far more people than you would expect to test.

‘If it is one or two people [with COVID-19], make sure you test all of that department, not just the wards or area they’ve been involved in.’

He added that ‘if we really are going to stop wave two… and keep a lid on the outbreaks’, then all staff at a hospital may need to be tested.

Public Health England guidance published on 4 June informs staff to self-isolate for 14 days if they have been in contact with a colleague with COVID-19, but they are not required to be tested.

Be ‘much more aggressive’ in tackling outbreaks

Professor Willet also advised the conference that social distancing must be maintained in hospitals.

‘My very strong advice is that you need to be much more aggressive about jumping on outbreaks,’ he said.

Professor Willet also called on nurses to reflect and record their trials and tribulations from the first COVID-19 wave in order to aid future learning.

Prepare for national and local inquiries on the pandemic

He added that now is the time to prepare for reviews that look back on the pandemic.

‘There will no doubt be public inquiries at a national level, and you will face inquiries locally,’ he said.

‘[Now] it is a little bit easier to take some time to reflect on all that went on in your organisations, in all the healthcare facilities you are responsible for, and to log down as best as you can all the things that happened and the decisions that were made.’


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