Thousands of GPs and nurses are being forced to stay off work as they cannot get tested for Covid-19, England’s test-and-trace tsar has been warned. The Royal College of GPs has written to Dido Harding, head of the government’s £10bn test-and-trace programme, warning that staff absences could hit the flu vaccination drive that ministers say is vital to stop the NHS becoming overwhelmed this winter. Patient care will suffer because family doctors and practice nurses are having to isolate at home at the same time as the reopening of schools, universities and some workplaces is leading to more people seeking an appointment, it says. The disclosure that GPs are having trouble getting tests follows weeks of mounting concern over the number of teachers, parents of school-age children and NHS staff who have encountered problems, with some being told to go hundreds of miles for a test. The college’s letter comes as official figures showed that the number of tests processed in the UK fell for three days in a row between Sunday and Tuesday, culminating in just 188,865 on Tuesday – about 35,000 below the recent average and the lowest number for 13 days. MPs have claimed the testing system… Read full this story
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