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Coronavirus: More than a third of doctors in England do not believe three tier system will impact spread of Covid

Luke O'Reilly
·3-min read
AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

More than a third of doctors in England do not believe the three-tier system will have an impact on containing the spread of coronavirus, a survey has found.

The research, from the British Medical Association (BMA), also found that more than half of healthcare staff say they are "quite anxious" about the autumn and winter period .

Almost two thirds (65 per cent) said staffing shortages are a concern in the months ahead, while 60 per cent said they are concerned about their personal health and wellbeing.

When it comes to dealing with patients, 58 per cent said they are concerned about the ability to cope with demand from non-Covid patients, and 44 per cent said they were worried about the ability to cope with demand from patients with Covid symptoms.

Asked to what extent they believed the current rules for tiering in their area will be effective in containing the spread of the virus, more than a third (37 per cent) said they felt they would have no impact or be ineffective, less than half (46 per cent) said they thought they would work to a slight extent and just 5.95 per cent said a significant extent.

This wonter is likely to be one of the most difficult of their careers (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
This wonter is likely to be one of the most difficult of their careers (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

More than 6,000 medics were questioned as part of the survey and the findings show the "enormous scale of the challenges" facing the NHS into winter, the BMA chairman said.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: "Doctors know that this winter is likely be one of the most difficult times of their careers.

"They are extremely worried about the ability for the NHS to cope and their ability to care for the needs of their patients."

The BMA said it is calling for the Government to be "both honest and realistic with the public about whether the NHS can cope with routine care and Covid care this winter".

Almost a fifth (19 per cent) of those questioned said in the two weeks leading up to the mid-October survey they had seen a significant increase in the number of Covid cases and it was higher than the same point in the first wave.

Some 11 per cent said while their local health system has plans in place to be able to address the backlog of patients whose care was cancelled, delayed or otherwise disrupted amid the pandemic, they had not yet made any progress, while just over a quarter (27 per cent) said they had made some.

Only around a third said they have premises that are currently suitable to adequately separate Covid and non-Covid patients (Getty Images)
Only around a third said they have premises that are currently suitable to adequately separate Covid and non-Covid patients (Getty Images)

Only around a third said they have premises that are currently suitable to adequately separate Covid and non-Covid patients - a statistic the BMA said highlights how difficult it will be to meet an expectation of resuming normal NHS services.

Dr Nagpaul said: "Large numbers of doctors across England have little faith that the Government's current 'tiered' based lock-downs will have any significant impact on controlling the virus.

"Instead of a few short weeks of suppression, bringing economic and emotional misery for those in the areas affected, we need a national prevention strategy that has a lasting impact and gets growing infection rates under control across England."

The BMA said 6,610 doctors in England took part in the survey during the week of October 19.

A majority (70 per cent) said they had not contracted coronavirus.

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