Welcoming the news that Wales could be considering a circuit breaker lockdown, Dr David Bailey, BMA Cymru Wales council chair, said:
“Cases are climbing fast across Wales with the latest figures showing that the number of Covid-related patients in the Welsh NHS has risen by 49% in a week, it’s clear that the current restrictions are not strong enough to suppress the spread of the virus. We welcome the move to introduce a travel ban from Covid hotspots, but at this critical point, doctors in Wales support, and are calling for as a matter of urgency, a circuit breaker lockdown for a number of weeks.
“It is imperative that robust action is taken now without delay, to protect the citizens of Wales, and the Welsh NHS. We have witnessed the destruction that the first wave of the pandemic brought with it – too many lives have been lost already and doctors, nurses and frontline health staff are still dealing with fatigue and burnout as a result of their huge sacrifices during this time.
“A second peak alongside the added pressure that the winter season will inevitably bring and the huge backlog of patients already in the system is quite frankly an overwhelming prospect. Our members are deeply concerned about the ability of the service to cope.
“Bringing in stronger restrictions in Wales at this point is essential, but restrictions must be accompanied by a longer-term national prevention strategy.
BMA Cymru Wales is calling on the Welsh Government to focus on:
Continued priority testing for symptomatic NHS staff and further consideration of regular asymptomatic testing for NHS staff;
- clear and consistent communication with the public on what they need to do to stop the spread, this must include
- clear public messaging that the NHS must be protected if elective work is to be delivered alongside caring for the influx of coronavirus patients;
- tackling in-hospital spread of the virus;
- keeping schools open where possible to avoid long-term effects on children’s mental health and well-being;
- childcare support for frontline key workers who are putting their lives on the line to care for patients;
- reducing bureaucracy and improving IT;
- fair remuneration for additional hours worked.