People with cancer ‘risk being left behind’ under new Covid-19 testing guidance
Some cancer patients are at risk of being “left behind” under new guidance which sets out who is eligible for free Covid-19 tests, a charity has warned.
Macmillan Cancer Support said it was welcome that people with symptoms of Covid-19 who are vulnerable to the effects of the disease will still be eligible for free tests.
But it urged minister to extend the offer of free testing to include immunocompromised people without symptoms.
It comes as a poll by the charity, shared with the the PA news agency, found that many people with cancer and their loved ones had been regularly testing to protect themselves.
Whilst it’s positive that those more vulnerable to getting seriously ill from Covid-19 will be eligible for free symptomatic testing, those who are asymptomatic have been left behind.
Across the UK, 22% of cancer patients said that they had asked family or friends to take a test before they meet up.
And 30% of those having treatment said they take a test at least once a week, according to the poll of 2,000 British adults with a previous cancer diagnosis.
Many cancer patients (70%) are still wearing masks in indoor settings, 42% try to keep a two-metre distance from others where possible and 19% are avoiding leaving the house as much as possible.
For cancer patients in England, 51% said that they do not think that the Government is doing enough to protect vulnerable people from Covid-19.
Lynda Thomas, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “The Government says it wants the public to learn to live with Covid, but this is only possible if people have the tools and resources to do so.
“Whilst it’s positive that those more vulnerable to getting seriously ill from Covid-19 will be eligible for free symptomatic testing, those who are asymptomatic have been left behind.
“Many immunocompromised people with cancer are still feeling incredibly nervous about living their everyday lives.
“Regular testing is a simple way to provide these individuals with the confidence to help manage and protect their health. The Government must urgently rectify this decision and ensure asymptomatic immunocompromised people, including those with cancer, can continue to access free testing.”
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