Implement ‘Plan B’ Now to Avoid “Profound Crisis”, Demands NHS Confederation Head

The Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation which represents the healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland says the Government mustn’t wait to implement ‘Plan B‘ winter measures, including vaccine passports and mask mandates, but should bring them into force right away instead. In fact, he believes the current Covid figures warrant “Plan B Plus”. The Guardian has the story.

Infections have been rising sharply since the start of October but the Government is resisting introducing the extra restrictions set out in its winter plan such as masks, vaccine passports and advice to work from home. …

Downing Street said it was keeping a “very close eye” on the situation. But Matthew Taylor, Chief executive of the NHS Confederation… said immediate action was required to prevent the NHS “stumbling into a crisis” where the elective care recovery would be jeopardised.

Taylor said: “We are right on the edge – and it is the middle of October. It would require an incredible amount of luck for us not to find ourselves in the midst of a profound crisis over the next three months.

“The Government ought to not just announce that we’re moving to Plan B, but it should be Plan B Plus. We should do what’s in Plan B in terms of masks… working from home, but also we should try to achieve the kind of national mobilisation that we achieved in the first and second waves, where the public went out of their way to support and help the health service.” [Does he mean by avoiding the health service?]

Ministers should encourage the public to do their bit by using the NHS responsibly, looking out for neighbours, volunteering or even re-entering the healthcare workforce, Taylor added.

“We need that same sense of pulling together over the next few months, trying to avoid risky behaviour if it’s not necessary. This is not a question of if we don’t do it something might happen. If we don’t do it, it would take a miracle for us not to find ourselves in the midst of a really profound crisis in our health and social care system over the next three months.” …

Scientists are also urging ministers to introduce Plan B. Professor Christina Pagel of UCL said: “We are now seeing cases and hospital admissions rising steadily and an out of control epidemic within schools. The Government must switch to its Plan B immediately and accelerate roll-out of vaccines, including to those who are yet to be vaccinated at all or are just on one dose.”

Professor Rowland Kao, a member of the SPI-M advisory committee, speaking in a personal capacity, added: “Light touch measures, especially where these are unlikely to negatively impact people’s livelihoods or cause indirect harm, should be welcome… I do think they would be helpful now.”

Worth reading in full.

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