Member of Parliament for the Cities of London & Westminster, Nickie Aiken, today raised the issue of the prioritisation of lateral flow tests for NHS workers in the House.
Nickie asked the Health Secretary:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
And I'm obviously very disappointed by the news today that London's going to Tier 3, but having seen the data, having spoken to PHE in London and the hospitals in my constituency, I am fully aware of the threat that this awful virus continues to provide to all of us.
And I know that hospitality in particular have done so much to become COVID secure, but sadly we are where we are.
And as I think of our hospitals and the amazing job that our NHS staff are doing day in, day out, night in, night out. And I know the acute hospital trusts in my constituency are handling COVID cases from across London. One of the major concerns that they have raised with me is the length of time that staff must isolate after a positive COVID contact.
And I understand that lateral flow testing in hospitals allow staff to return to work safely after five days rather than 14.
Mr. Speaker, can my Right Honourable Friend confirm that the rollout of the lateral flow test will be prioritised in hospitals where cases are increasing?
The Health Secretary gave the following response:
The short answer is yes; we are rolling out lateral flow testing to find asymptomatic cases in hospitals right across England.
And we're always looking for ways to reduce the burden of isolation needed for positive contacts.
But can I just also pay tribute to my honourable friend's leadership.
These are difficult decisions, and it is difficult to explain to people why these measures are necessary, given the impact that they have, but she's quite right to do so.
And her analysis of the best way of London coming through this is by presenting a united front and all of us working together to get the case rates down.
That's how we will best get through this together.
You can watch also watch their exchange above.