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Coronavirus: Reopening NHS services must be safe, unions say

Rapid testing and an adequate supply of protective equipment must be in place when the NHS reopens services cancelled during the peak of the coronavirus oubreak, health unions have said.

The unions have put forward a nine-point plan for the NHS to reopen safely as lockdown restrictions ease.

NHS England has told hospitals to restart routine and non-urgent operations and procedures which were put on hold to create more capacity for COVID-19 patients. But 16 unions, including Unison, the Royal College of Nursing, Unite and GMB, said they wanted the NHS to continue to operate a "safety-first" approach as outpatient clinics and operations resume.

They said they wanted to avoid a repeat of the PPE supply problems which "sapped" staff confidence and "caused widespread and unnecessary anxiety".

Unison's Sara Gorton, who also chairs the NHS group of unions, said the health sector faced another "crucial test" after handling the outbreak. 

She added: "As hospitals get busier, and clinics and other services begin to reopen, the safety of staff and patients is paramount. But this can't happen without plentiful and constant PPE supplies."

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Source: BBC News, 15 May 2020


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