UNISON has cancelled its annual health conference, due to take place in Brighton from April 6-8.
A spokesman for the union said the decision has been taken in light of the escalation of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said the safety of participants and their families was also at the forefront of the general secretary and presidential team’s minds when they took the decision to cancel.
‘The needs of our NHS and the safety and peace of mind of health workers and their loved ones are paramount.
‘The cancellation of the event means health staff won’t be taken away from hospitals, clinics and advice centres across the country at a time of national crisis.’
This comes after government bosses announced they would be moving from ‘contain’ to the ‘delay’ phase of its plan to combat the virus, with the UK’s Chief Medical Officers raising the risk to the public from moderate to high.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is asking anyone who develops a high temperature or new continuous cough to self-isolate for seven days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. There is no need to call 111 during self-isolation unless symptoms worsen or are no better after seven days.
Health bosses say they will be introducing further social distancing measures for older and vulnerable people in the coming weeks, asking them to self-isolate regardless of symptoms.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Coronavirus is the biggest public health crisis we have faced in a generation. It continues to spread both in the UK and around the world and we need to accept that sadly, many more of us will become infected.
‘The government and the NHS are working 24/7 to fight this virus. We must all work together and play our own part in protecting ourselves and each other, as well as our NHS, from this disease. This expanded campaign will focus on ensuring the public knows exactly what they should be doing to keep themselves and others safe.
Washing hands regularly for 20 seconds or more remains the single most important thing an individual can do, but we now also need to ask anyone with a high temperature or new continuous cough – however mild – to isolate yourself and stay at home for seven days.
‘You should continue to follow our online clinical advice and not go to A&E or your GP if you develop mild symptoms.
Combating this virus will require a national effort, we all have a role to play to slow its spread and protect the elderly and the vulnerable.’
Questions about the cancelled UNISON conference can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit – UNISON