On Monday 21 February, the Prime Minister is expected to publish a ‘plan for living with Covid-19’ in England and he has indicated this may include bringing forward the end of Covid-19 self-isolation rules to later in February. Kidney Care UK has raised our concerns about the ending of restrictions directly with MPs and policy makers and we know that many of you have also written to your MPs to share your views.
We have now joined with 17 other health charities to set out the ‘5 key tests’ the Prime Minister’s plan must pass to ensure it supports those most at risk from Covid-19 now, and in the future. We know many people want to get back to normal, not least people at highest risk from Covid-19 who have been among those most acutely affected by the pandemic, but the risk will not simply disappear for people who are immunosuppressed and Government policy must prioritise supporting them to manage this risk.
The five tests are:
- Directly address the concerns of people at highest risk and commit to improve communication with them.
- Smooth, timely access to Covid-19 treatments.
- Lateral flow tests remain free.
- Improve employment protection and support.
- Set out a plan for the use of preventative Covid-19 treatments and prioritise further research into treatments and vaccines.
Fiona Loud from Kidney Care UK said “We are worried about the government’s plans to remove Covid-19 self-isolation rules. We urge the government to show some commitment to 500,000 immunosuppressed people by sharing their plans, and the evidence for this decision. Abandoning all measures without preventative treatments, free lateral flow tests, and a duty not to expose immunosuppressed people to Covid unnecessarily risks making us into second class citizens. Despite Omicron being a milder illness for the general population, there remains uncertainty about future variants, further impact on higher risk groups; with a record of really poor communication this will make things harder and increase anxiety for people with kidney disease who have already spent two years under Covid-19 stress.”
Kidney Care UK, as part of the charity coalition, is sending a briefing to all MPs which set out the five key tests and explain why they are so important. It highlights that people who are immunosuppressed may be less well protected by the vaccine and are also at highest risk of severe illness with Covid. We are asking MPs to write to the Prime Minister emphasising our asks and raise questions challenging the Prime Minister on how the Government is planning to support immunocompromised individuals.
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