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30 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Hospital trusts blast government’s testing plan over lack of long-term strategy

By Samuel Horti

Hospital chiefs have voiced their growing frustration with the government’s coronavirus testing strategy, which they say is focused on “frequent tactical announcements” at the expense of long-term strategy.

A report from NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, called the government’s 100,000 daily test target a “red herring”, saying that ministers should’ve instead focused their efforts on systematically testing key groups of NHS workers.

“NHS trust leaders believe they have done all they can to support the national testing effort so far but are increasingly frustrated with the lack of clarity on how the testing regime will be developed for this next phase,” the report said.

“At the moment they feel they are on the end of a series of frequent tactical announcements extending the testing criteria to new groups with no visibility on any longer term strategy, and are being expected at the drop of a hat to accommodate these changes with no advance notice or planning.”

The government looks set to leave its pledge for 100,000 daily test by the end of the month unfulfilled. Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said this morning that “it’s probable we won’t” hit the target. At last count, 52,000 people were tested in a 24-hour period.

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