Doctors and nurses to be exempt from isolation when NHS Covid app pings amid warnings of hospital shortages
DOCTORS and nurses could be freed from having to self isolate when their app pings amid chilling warnings of hospital staff shortages.
Downing Street is considering exempting NHS staff from the draconian rules as they battle to stop the “pingdemic” from paralysing the NHS.
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Ministers today begged Brits not to turn off the app, which is expected to order over 4 million people into self-isolation over the next month.
They have already ordered scientists to adjust the app to make it less sensitive in a bid to stop growing numbers from deleting it.
But going a step further, they said NHS staff could be exempted from its dreaded alert altogether ahead of July 19 Freedom Day.
The PM’s official spokesman said the move is “something we’re looking at ahead of step four”.
Hospital bosses have warned their battle to tackle the massive NHS backlog will be knocked off course if a growing army of medics are forced to self isolate.
Prof Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams are working under intense workload and workforce pressures.
“Self-isolation measures have been necessary to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and protect our most vulnerable patients, but when staff have to isolate, even with some remote working options in place, it does impact on the services we are able to deliver, and the workload on the rest of the team.
“Given the high vaccine take up amongst NHS workers, bringing forward the exemption from self-isolating for healthcare professionals who have been double-vaccinated would be worth considering, informed by research evidence, so that disruption to our services for patients can be minimised.”
Meanwhile, the PM and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps begged Brits not to delete the NHS Covid app amid alarm at the growing numbers deleting it to escape the dreaded alert.
A No 10 spokesman said the app had been an “important tool” in breaking the chain of transmission of coronavirus.
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“The Prime Minister has been clear that he continues to use it. We continue to ask people to isolate if they are asked to through the app.”
Mr Shapps said: “You shouldn’t ignore this (the app) because it is vital information. “People should want to know if they have been in contact with somebody with coronavirus.
“You don’t want to be spreading it around. It can still harm people.”
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