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NHS Staff to Face Lateral Flow Testing Fees From Next Week

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The Government has failed to outline plans to offer free tests to NHS workers as NHS staff in England could face a bill of up to £50 for lateral flow testing from 1 April 2022.

Concerns are growing among NHS leaders that in a matter of days their frontline staff could be made to pay for their own Covid-19 tests so that they can continue working and caring for their patients. Government plans to “live with Covid” come into force later this month, meaning free lateral flow tests will no longer be available free-of-charge for most.

It was confirmed in February that care home residents and staff, hospital patients, and other vulnerable groups will still be entitled to free symptomatic testing. However, astonishingly, health care staff were missing from this list. The most recent guidance from NHS England still requires to test and report their test results twice a week but fails to outline how this will be funded.

Lateral flow tests could cost staff as much as £6 each from some retailers, meaning an additional cost for NHS workers of around £50 per week on top of rising energy bills, petrol prices and other costs.

The NHS Confederation is now calling for clarity from the Government on the testing requirements for NHS staff to be made available without delay and for access to free testing to continue, particularly for staff in patient-facing roles.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Health leaders are adamant that continuing to offer free testing to NHS staff is vital given that rates of coronavirus and hospital admissions are still very high and rising.

“We know that more NHS workers are again having to take time off due to Covid-19 with it accounting for 30% of all absences and so, the Government cannot put its fingers in ears and pretend that the threat has gone away.

“In the face of a cost-of-living crisis, many staff will simply not be able to afford to regularly buy their tests.

“Given the huge expectations placed on the NHS to recover its services while contending with significant vacancies, staff need to be supported to understand their Covid status, stay well and keep transmission within healthcare settings to a minimum.”

Do you think tests for NHS staff should be free? Let us know over on social media!

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Doctor Who: David Tennant and Catherine Tate to return

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David Tennant and Catherine Tate are to return to Doctor Who, the BBC has confirmed.

The pair are currently filming for the sci-fi show’s 60th anniversary, which it will celebrate in 2023.

Tennant played the 10th Doctor on the time travel drama from 2005-2010, while Tate played companion Donna Noble. Tennant and Tate’s involvement means they will be reunited with returning Doctor Who head writer Russell T Davies.

Davies, who was in charge of Doctor Who when it was successfully revived in 2005, left at the same time as Tennant. Their last episode together was broadcast in 2010.

Tennant has briefly returned before, joining then-Doctor Matt Smith for the programme’s 50th anniversary in 2013.

Davies has teased fans, saying: “Maybe this is a missing story. Or a parallel world. Or a dream, or a trick, or a flashback. The only thing I can confirm is that it’s going to be spectacular, as two of our greatest stars reunite for the battle of a lifetime.”

Tennant and Tate’s 2008 series of Doctor Who is the most successful that the show has had since its revival in 2005, with an average audience of more than eight million viewers per episode.

Are you excited to see their return?

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Eurovision 2022: How Sam Ryder Turned Things Around For the UK

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Sam Ryder has said the “stigma” about the UK’s Eurovision performance has finally been “destroyed” after he brought home our best result in 24 years.

The singer led the UK to second place during Saturday night’s Song Contest in Turin, Italy, with his song ‘Space Man’.

It was the the highest the UK has placed since 1998, when Imaani’s ‘Where Are You?’ finished just behind Israel’s Dana International, who won with her song Diva.

In the years since, Britain has suffered a number of embarrassment moments, receiving the dreaded “nul points” in 2003 with Jemini’s ‘Cry Baby’ and in 2021 with James Newman’s ‘Embers’.

However, the public overwhelmingly backed Ukraine, who won the competition with 631 points on the leaderboard, with the UK securing 466 points.

Winning the 2022 Eurovision trophy is a hugely emotional and symbolic victory for Ukraine in the contest’s 66th year as the conflict continues.

The nation’s president Volodymyr Zelensky responded: “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe.

“We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt.”

The results had many fans in sheer disbelief on social media, while prime minister Boris Johnson said he was “incredibly proud” of Sam and how “he brilliantly represented the UK”.

You’re the winner in our eyes Sam, well done!

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Eurovision 2022: Sam Ryder Odds Rocket Ahead of Eurovision Final

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The UK’s Eurovision 2022 entry Sam Ryder has closed in on Ukraine in the winner odds after his performance in the jury semi final.

The TikTok star blew away the audience who flocked to the Pala Olimpico arena in Turin, Italy to see the second jury semi final. The reaction to Sam’s act and his amazing performance have now got plenty of fans and experts predicting he is going to push Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra all the way on Saturday night.

Last week , Sam was sitting in fourth place in the Eurovision odds with his song ‘Space Man’ but, after his second rehearsal in Turin received a rave reaction from press over in Italy and fans and he was given a huge advantage by being drawn in the second half of the Eurovision final, he soared up to second.

The Ukraine currently have a 59% chance of winning and the UK 11%. Sweden and Italy then currently stand as third and fourth favourites at 9% and 6% respectively. Our odds have improved even more so since too as the UK have been announced to perform fourth from last, number 22, which has been the winning performance slot two years in a row.

On May 3 2022 it became exactly 25 years to the day since the UK’s last triumph in Eurovision, when Katrina & the Waves topped the leaderboard in Ireland with their anthemic track Love Shine A Light. Since then, there’s been little to shout about. The UK has always been on the wrong side of the leaderboard, with us consistently finishing at or near the bottom. And last year proved a particularly bitter pill to swallow when James Newman came last on zero points, having received nothing from either the juries or televote.

Check out Sam’s song here:

Who do you think will win?

Watch Eurovision Song Contest 2022 – Grand Final this Saturday (May 14) at 8pm GMT on BBC1.

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