Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt calls for immediate school closures and ban on household mixing
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for immediate school closures and a ban on household mixing.
Boris Johnson’s rival during last year’s Tory leadership race today said the move needed to come “right away”.
Mr Hunt warned pressures facing hospitals were “off-the-scale worse” than previous winter crises.
The chairman of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee questioned the UK Government’s approach in a scathing thread on Twitter.
He said: “Time to act: thread on why we need to close schools, borders, and ban all household mixing RIGHT AWAY.
“To those arguing winter is always like this in the NHS: you are wrong. I faced four serious winter crises as Health Sec and the situation now is off-the-scale worse than any of those.
“It’s true that we often had to cancel elective care in Jan to protect emergency care, but that too is under severe pressure with record trolley waits for the very sickest patients.
“Even more worryingly fewer heart attack patients appear to be presenting in ICUs, perhaps because they are not dialling 999 when they need to.
“Full credit to NHS for keeping cancer services open, but in Wave 1 there was still a 2/3 drop in cancer appointments. People didn’t come forward to GPs or want to go to hospitals, with many potentially avoidable cancer deaths. We hoped to avoid that this time, but now looking unlikely.”
The intervention comes as the Prime Minister warned of "tough, tough" weeks to come as the UK Government comes under pressure to announce another national lockdown.
Boris Johnson said there was "no question" about the need for tougher measures, but so far has refused to say what they are or when they will be announced.
The latest data show a 33 per cent rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus patients in hospital in England between Christmas Day and January 2, figures which have caused alarm in Whitehall and the health service.
"If you look at the numbers there's no question we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course," Mr Johnson said during a visit to Chase Farm Hospital in north London.
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