The Royal College of General Practitioners is warning the British Government that there is a lack of confidence in their approaches to the coronavirus.
In a letter, they are warning Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, that there should be a move from counting numbers to a clear testing scheme to prevent a second wave of cases.
The letter sets out concerns about the accuracy and timing of the results of the tests carried out.
“While we recognize the work of the Government and a range of stakeholders, we do not believe that there is enough clarity on a co-ordinated comprehensive testing strategy to prevent a second wave of infections and to ensure the health of the population as a whole, ”Said Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the College in his letter.
“As we loosen the blockade over the coming weeks and months, it is vital that the profession and patients can have complete confidence in the testing and tracking methods.”
It calls for an approach that involves the Health Service, social care and community care services working together, including in care homes that are at the “front line” of the pandemic.
“In the absence of a clear strategy and delayed social care planning, patients have been left vulnerable,” he said afterwards.
“I’m sure you’ll agree that now is the time to move beyond an arbitrary focus on numbers and targets, and ensure that our loved ones in vulnerable locations are protected in particular. ”
It says the College is aware of healthcare workers’ concerns about the accuracy and timing of test results.
“We know that the distance that tests travel to laboratories and the waiting time for results undermines confidence in the process and the results themselves,” he said.
“Any testing strategy must therefore commit to building confidence in the process, including a commitment to improving the sensitivity and specificity of the tests.”
It also calls for guidance to be given to GPs on how to help patients get tested, and calls for “transparent communication” from the Government.
Sir Mark Walport, the UK’s chief executive of Research and Innovation and a former British Government chief scientific adviser has said tracking is critical with a second wave of cases still possible.
“It’s a combination of people being very careful about how they behave, and identifying cases as early and as thoroughly as possible by testing, and then working out who they came into contact with, and making sure they they self-isolate, ” he told Radio 4
“As measures are taken to ease social exclusion, they need to be taken very, very carefully.
“There is no doubt that there is the possibility of a second wave. That’s the truth, no doubt.
“It will continue while there are still a significant number of cases.”