Easing restrictions too quickly risks damaging progress
The Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine welcome the Prime Minister’s assurance that the government will maintain a cautious approach to the easing of any lockdown restrictions in England.
With hospital admissions still high and the latest reported average daily number of COVID-related deaths currently at 447, any changes to restrictions based on dates not data would be irresponsible at best and at worse risk thousands more lives and extend the on-going financial hardships for millions.
The NHS has coped incredibly well during this pandemic, but it has been at a cost to the mental and physical wellbeing of its staff. We have also lost colleagues to this terrible virus. Redirected staff and overstretched hospital resources have sadly seen many elective surgeries cancelled across the UK, with record numbers of patients now on the waiting lists. Planned services are slowly beginning to restore and any subsequent rise in COVID cases caused by easing restrictions too quickly, could seriously damage the progress that has been made.
Lockdown has been difficult for many, but the reality is it has helped to curb the pandemic. Infection rates are reducing, and millions of vaccinations have been given. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, so it would be devastating for patients and the NHS if we were to lose this momentum.
We are all in this together, so let us continue to play our part in these challenging times and support those who need our help the most.
Professor Ravi Mahajan,
President, Royal College of Anaesthetists
Dr Alison Pittard, OBE
Dean, Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine