Seven in ten medical workers think government lockdown advice has been unclear

November 06, 2020, 11:34 AM UTC

YouGov polling conducted shortly after the government revealed the coronavirus “Tier” system indicates widespread confusion among British clinicians

In October 2020, a majority of the British public believed that the government’s advice around the new COVID-19 tier system was clear (54%) – with four in ten saying it was not clear (42%).

But YouGov polling conducted shortly after the new tier system was introduced (October 13 -19) indicates that the country’s healthcare professionals do not necessarily feel the same way.

When asked, seven out of ten (71%) said the government’s COVID-19 lockdown guidance was unclear. Of this group, a third (34%) went as far as to say it was “not clear at all”, while 37% said it was “not very clear”. Only three in ten (29%) believed that the government’s advice was clear, and most did not believe it without qualification: 24% said it was “fairly clear” and just 5% said it was “very clear”.

On balance, British NHS staff were more likely to take issue with the UK government’s COVID-19 advice than their counterparts in the private sector: 72% of the former group – who make up a much larger proportion of our sample – said it was unclear compared to 65% of the latter.

Men are also more likely to have trouble interpreting the guidance than women: 75% of male medical workers find the government’s guidance to be unclear compared to 69% of women.  Approaching four in ten (38%) male medical workers go as far as to say it is “not clear at all”.

The lack of clarity among medical staff may have consequences for the government’s strategy: if healthcare professionals are misunderstanding the official advice, they may increase the risk of endangering colleagues, patients, and the people around them.

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