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Local MP makes statement on vote for Testing of NHS & Social Care Staff

Bury North MP James Daly has released a statement this evening (Saturday) after Wednesday’s Opposition Day debate on Testing of NHS and Social Care Staff.

Mr Daly, along with many Tory MP’s voted against Labour’s Motion and has received many messages from his constituents following this vote.

In a statement on his website, Daly said: “There has been much discussion this week about a motion tabled by the Labour Party during an Opposition Day debate and I have received a number of emails and social media comments in respect of this.

On Wednesday of this week, I supported the government to continue following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer for England and the British Medical Association. By doing this, we are ensuring NHS front line workers are tested on the basis of the best clinical and scientific advice and not on the Labour Party’s attempt to score political points.

Once again, I pay tribute to our incredible NHS staff for their heroic work in saving lives throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude for their care, their dedication and their unceasing commitment and I am therefore pleased we are now able to carry out more than 200,000 tests per day ensuring all NHS and care staff are prioritised for regular testing.”

He added: “Labour’s motion called for all staff to be tested weekly, irrespective of their role in the NHS or scientific evidence of what is needed. This wording was completely at odds with the opening remarks of the Shadow Health Secretary who called for “ weekly health testing – if necessary “ something I support. This was not included in the wording of the motion nor was any reasoned plan as to how we would achieve blanket testing.

The Government’s approach on the testing of NHS staff has been determined by clinical experts and the NHS has now set out plans for how it will work. This includes continuing to prioritise testing of all NHS staff with symptoms and regular testing of asymptomatic staff in situations where there is an incident or outbreak, and regular surveillance testing across staff. The Government is continually reviewing clinical evidence to ensure regular testing of staff without symptoms is undertaken where appropriate, something the Labour Shadow Health Secretary appears to agree with as outlined above.

This targeted approach, based on clinical advice of focusing intensive testing on NHS staff working in face to face roles with patients where the setting has a high prevalence of COVID 19 is in my view the correct policy. Labour’s motion sought to commit the Government to testing staff who may never see a patient, many of whom are working productively from home, to being tested every week regardless.”

Mr Daly concluded by saying: “I will always back our NHS and its fantastic workforce and was proud to vote for record funding increases, meaning the NHS will have a £33 billion increase in its annual budget. I also welcome this week’s announcement that over the last 12 months the NHS workforce has increased by 12,000 nurses and 6,000 doctors.

I voted to ensure staff, patients and our communities are kept safe by following the scientific advice of our Chief Medical Officer on testing. Routine testing should be prioritised on those working on the frontline who need it, which clearly benefits the vulnerable patients for whom they are caring.”

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