Private doctors welcome delay in easing Covid restrictions

It is a bitter pill for some private doctors, but they have welcomed the delay to easing restrictions in England on 21 June.

Dr Neil Haughton

Independent Doctors Federation president Dr Neil Haughton said: ‘It’s a shame that restrictions have to be extended and we have had to cancel some IDF events, but we cannot ignore the data and another month after such a long time is a small price to pay. 

‘There have been such awful stories in that past year; it would be insensitive to ignore the graphs and open up as planned.’ 

He told Independent Practitioner Today he thought most private GPs and consultants were back on track now and seeing patients almost as normal. 

‘Some who have NHS commitments have had to concentrate on that side more, but that’s understandable. There’s also such an NHS backlog, the private sector will have to address part of that problem.’ 

At the BMA, which fought hard for the delay, council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul welcomed the Government’s commitment to ensuring that two-thirds of the adult population are fully vaccinated by 19 July.

‘It is also of note that all adults will be offered their first dose by the same date. This is especially important given that younger unvaccinated people are at far greater risk of becoming infected and a not insignificant proportion may be at risk of becoming severely ill.

‘The Government has committed to reviewing the data on a daily basis and it must now use these next four weeks to forensically analyse the data as it emerges. This needs to include the extent to which new cases translate to severe illness and how many people then need treatment in a hospital. 

‘The impact on hospitalisations will take at least two more weeks to become apparent and any increase in the death rate won’t really be seen for at least another two weeks after that.’ 

He said an understanding of the impact of long-Covid was needed and everything should be done to reduce the risk. 

‘If not, it will lead to long staff absences, which in turn will impact businesses and the health service.

‘Crucially, while the Prime Minister says he reserves the right to lift restrictions earlier than 19 July if the data shows risk diminishing, he must also be prepared for the opposite, based on the Government’s own four tests – and not be led by arbitrary fixed dates.’