Coronavirus UK: Police accused of stopping NHS key workers

Hospital staff claim police told them their NHS IDs were NOT proof of essential travel after being stopped on the way to work

  • ‘Small number’ of staff at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge were stopped
  • They showed their NHS ID to police when asked on the way to and from work 
  • Cambridgeshire Constabulary have ‘reminded officers’ of acceptable ID  
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Hospital bosses were forced to step in after staff were stopped by police on their way to work – and told their NHS passes were not proof of ‘essential travel’. 

A ‘small number’ of staff at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge told their bosses they had been stopped by officers on their way to work, according to an internal memo. 

They showed their NHS ID cards but were told they were ‘insufficient evidence’ for needing to be outside their homes. 

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has now been in touch with Cambridgeshire Constabulary and says the matter has been resolved. 

The police force says it has ‘reminded’ their officers of the appropriate action to take during routine checks.  The letter to CUH bosses is dated April 3. 

Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge has reported members of their staff being stopped by police officers on their way to work – only to be told their NHS IDs were not proof of essential travel

During the hot weather over the Easter weekend, police officers were out in huge numbers nationwide to ensure people were not out of their homes unnecessarily and keeping to social distancing guidelines. 

Beachfronts along the south coast and canal towpaths in London were pictured packed with people, despite the government’s coronavirus regulations.

Police can fine anyone out of their house unnecessarily, with £60 for a first offence and £120 for a second. 

Only ‘key workers’, which include NHS staff, supermarket workers and transport operators, are allowed to continue to go to work, besides those who cannot work from home. 

A Cambridge University Hospitals spokesman said today: ‘Cambridgeshire Constabulary has an important role encouraging people to stay at home.

‘While it is correct that a very small number of our staff were challenged, this issue was quickly resolved and we continue to welcome their efforts to support the social distancing message.’

Chief Constable Nick Dean said in a statement on Sunday: ‘There are reports circulating on social media that officers are stopping NHS staff on their way to or from work at Addenbrooke’s hospital.

‘This morning we have spoken to Addenbrooke’s and have confirmed these reports date back to early April or even prior to that.

‘It is inevitable that officers going about their daily business will stop and speak to our colleagues across the health service.

‘We as Cambridgeshire Constabulary have had nothing but support from right across the health sector, as every police service has experienced, right across the country.

‘We are all united in our support to stop the spread of the virus and to save lives.

‘NHS staff carry ID cards and that is more than sufficient to show who they are and why they are travelling – we are very clear that we support our NHS.

‘We have reminded our officers of the guidelines, as we have done continually throughout this evolving situation.

‘I ask that you help us in saving lives and supporting our fantastic NHS by staying at home.’