The RCP has sent a briefing to all MPs in the House of Commons ahead of today’s debate on the emergency coronavirus bill.
On Thursday, the government published the emergency Coronavirus Bill 2020-21, setting out details of new emergency laws to contain the spread of COVID-19. This includes information on the government’s strategy and potential interventions.
Ahead of today’s debate on the bill, we have sent a briefing to all MPs, highlighting the need for government to ensure that the bill protects and reassures clinicians and front-line NHS staff. This includes calls to:
- Protect NHS and social care staff by providing priority access to tests. This is vital to avoid exacerbating workforce shortages by forcing many clinicians to stay off work, potentially unnecessarily.
- Ensure a sufficient supply of all necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep clinicians and front-line staff in both health and social care protected at all times.
- To further reduce non-essential contact, the government must explore measures which help facilitate more video conferences style appointments/consults and for more work to be done to improve de-briefs for staff.
- Ensure that new legislation does not result in people who would have had access to care (under the duties laid out in the Care Act 2014), failing to receive it due to a lack of resources.
- Protect vulnerable individuals on lower incomes by ensuring the emergency bill includes provisions to provide adequate financial support during this epidemic.
- This includes ensuring that statutory sick pay (SSP) is adequate and accessible for all, including self-employed.