The government’s Covid-19 testing targets are welcome, but it must not overpromise, according to Unison general secretary, Dave Prentis.
Prentis’s response comes after health secretary Matt Hancock said that the government is aiming to conduct 100,000 Covid-19 tests daily by the end of April. Currently, the UK only has the capacity to conduct around 6,500 tests a day.
Prentis said: “The government must be realistic about what’s possible and not overpromise. Delivering over the coming weeks will be crucial to how both front line staff and the wider public view the government’s ability to manage the crisis.”
As well as facing pressure from the union, the government is also under pressure from the opposition among others, to explain how it will meet its target of Covid-19 testing by the end of April.
Labour leader hopeful, Sir Keir Starmer has said: “Ministers have consistently failed to explain why we are miles behind where we need to be on testing for coronavirus. We need answers and we need solutions – and we need them now.”
The government has also come under fire in recent days after it was revealed that only 2,000 front line NHS staff out of some half a million have so far been tested.
Commenting further on the importance of testing, Prentis said it is “the key in the fight against the virus.”
He added: “It’s clear the UK isn’t doing enough. We can’t waste another minute. Many NHS and care staff at home in isolation want to be tested. They're frustrated that the lack of testing kits is preventing their return to the front line. Speed and accuracy are now of the essence.”