By Accountable Care Journal-
During a media briefing on Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged a new national effort to increase Covid-19 tests by 100,000 a day by the end of April.
The increased testing is part of a new five-pillar plan that will see government, industry, academia and the NHS working together to realise this “ambitious” plan.
Following Wednesday’s media briefing, the Government was put under pressure for repeatedly failing to provide clear data, as well as an action plan, about Covid-19 testing, especially for the NHS frontline staff.
Mr Hancock, who is now out of self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus last week, has appointed Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England to help deliver the new testing target.
The five-pillar plan announced by the Health Secretary outlines the ambitions to:
- Scale-up swab testing in PHE labs and NHS hospitals
- Deliver increased commercial swab testing for critical key workers in the NHS
- Develop blood testing to help establish whether people have the right antibodies
- Conduct surveillance testing to learn more about the spread of the disease
- Create a new national effort for testing, to build a mass-testing capacity at a "completely new scale"
In addition to the new testing target, Mr Hancock also announced supporting measures for pharmacies and the NHS. These include £300 billion that will be made available for community pharmacies in order to “make sure that every part of our health and care system is supported".
In a further effort to help NHS trusts in the battle against coronavirus, the Health Secretary said he is writing off £13.4 billion of historic NHS debt.
Mr Hancock concluded by thanking those who are working tirelessly on the frontline: “I’m profoundly moved by the compassion and commitment from people across the country. Thank you for your dedication in our fight against coronavirus. It is a war in which all of humanity is on the same side... we will prevail".
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