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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:07 pm on 16th March 2020.

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Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Labour, Ellesmere Port and Neston 4:07 pm, 16th March 2020

I will be dealing with the concerns about the social care sector in a little while, but the points my hon. Friend makes are absolutely valid and they certainly require a Government response.

We should think about protecting NHS staff not just in terms of the doctors, nurses and other frontline staff, but in terms of the cleaners, porters and all the other essential staff who are needed to keep a hospital running and who also play a vital part in infection control. We often hear about the importance of data, and it seems to me that this is a particularly clear example of where data have a huge role to play. If the data are not collected on a regular and consistent basis, surely we will not be in the best position to take the right action.

Yesterday, it was announced that UK medical schools have been urged to fast-track final year students to help fight coronavirus. Can we have an explanation of how this will work, and how will we ensure that graduates still face rigorous testing to make sure they provide the best quality care for patients? There is certainly a role for them to play, but trusts need clarity about its limits so that they can plan ahead. Are staff on maternity and paternity leave being encouraged to return to work early, and would they be able to do so without losing any untaken leave?