Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:06 pm on 16th March 2020.

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Photo of Paula Barker Paula Barker Labour, Liverpool, Wavertree 6:06 pm, 16th March 2020

I join other Members in placing on record my condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones. I pay tribute to the workers in the NHS who are working around the clock and to those working in social care.

After a decade of austerity, our NHS and public health were already at breaking point, even before the coronavirus hit our communities. Public sector workers have borne the brunt of austerity over the past 10 years, and they are the very workers who are expected to continue to provide services to the most vulnerable people in our society.

Today, I have been contacted by Paul, a critical care nurse in my constituency who has had to self-isolate after developing a cough. He has been told that he will not be tested. His skills, along with those of his colleagues, are vital to care for patients. Frontline staff need to be—