My Question during the Statement on Covid-19, 19 April 2021

Sir John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the big reductions, based on the vaccinations, in case and death numbers. Will he briefly update us on better air extraction, cleaning and other measures to control infection in hospitals to reassure the many patients who now need non-covid treatment?

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (Mr Matt Hancock): My right hon. Friend has asked about this many times, and he is quite right to, because it is not just about cleaning.

We have learned a lot during the pandemic about the importance of good ventilation, and that is now embedded in infection prevention and control. As cases in hospitals come down, hospitals across the country are separating, as much as is possible, those who might or do have covid from people who are coming to hospital having been tested and knowing that they do not have covid.

That is incredibly important to reassure people that if they are asked to come to hospital by a clinician, it is the best place for them.


  1. Fred.H
    April 20, 2021

    Reassurance needs to be earned. That recent history undermines the public perception of safety in hospitals needs to be addressed by factual evidence. Good luck with that.

  2. Everhopeful
    April 20, 2021

    They didn’t know about ventilation?
    Well everyone else did! For hundreds of years. Fresh air…windmill over Newgate Prison…TB sanatoriums. Blow away the cobwebs! Open windows and get rid of “stagnant, musty and corrupt air” ( Florence Nightingale).
    But more ventilation system bred legionnaire’s disease…spookily similar to covid!
    Separation = isolation. Also a very well understood concept.
    They are relearning a thousand years of medical experience at our expense?
    Cocky or what?

    1. MiC
      April 20, 2021

      Legionnaire’s disease is caused by a bacterium, Legionella, not by a virus.

      It’s not spooky, it’s well understood.

      Many other things can cause fatal pneumonia too.

      1. Everhopeful
        April 20, 2021

        I know.
        However, the symptoms are very similar.
        Very spooky!
        Oh yes..many things can cause fatal pneumonia.

        1. MiC
          April 21, 2021

          Writing “QED” after a silly implication takes nothing from that silliness.

  3. simple soul
    April 20, 2021

    Ok. I’ll bite. I can’t understand your interest in air extraction.
    Well I can actually, but I wish I couldn’t.
    This whole thing is like a grotesque merry go round.
    I think all the riders wish they could jump off
    and lead beautful simple lives.
    They could if they were brave.

    Ps The public dont give a hoot about Cameron.
    If he didn’t break “the rules”
    maybe ” the rules” are wrong
    What the public care about is ……………………
    (to be continued.)

    1. Everhopeful
      April 20, 2021

      Fantastic image conjured up. One of those Victorian merry go rounds.
      Ostriches, distorted, red mouthed horses…all in a sort of opioid haze.
      Haunting, tinny music…
      Has the govt. got a Ministry for Witchcraft and Sorcery yet?

      Not so much bravery as sanity or probity maybe?

    2. jerry
      April 20, 2021

      @simple soul; “and lead beautful simple lives. They could if they were brave.”

      If we were brave we would have done what countries like China and slightly less draconian, Australia and NZ did at the outset, lockdown hard. A virus that can not spread does not spread, that is why sailing ships that were thought to be infected with disease were kept out of port, or at least away from the quayside – go figure, China, Australia and NZ have all bounced back, not that they are free of the virus but they are keeping it under control.

  4. jerry
    April 20, 2021

    We seem to be having to re-learn common sense that those only a few generations ago took for granted, self or forced isolation of those actually sick or thought to be sick, a mere 50 years ago we still had many of the Victorian era (TB style) isolation hospitals.

    That said, when you have a ward, if not hospital, full of patients all suffering from the same illness floor area ventilation per se is not the most important aspect of their care nor those charged with caring for them, PPE is and beyond the hospital the prevention of further viral infections. Indeed ventilation systems can throw up other issues, including external, as we have seen with Legionnaires’ disease and air conditioning system cooling equipment.

  5. JayGee
    April 20, 2021

    How much more stupid can this government get? It’s not rocket science.

    At the risk of sounding like the needle stuck on the record, I’d like to offer them all that old phrase “when we were young ….”. Mums used to insist on the windows being opened and left open for a goodly while after kiddiwinks had extracted themselves from their beds. In all weathers; come rain or come shine, come hail or come snow; come mumps or come measles; come sniffles or come flu.

    It’s not rocket science, said the needle stuck on the vinyl.

  6. a-tracy
    April 20, 2021

    Matt Hancock – the reason JR has to keep asking you the question ‘many times’ is because once again you didn’t answer.

    1. update us on better air extraction
    2. “separating, as much as is possible, those who might or do have covid from people who are coming to hospital having been tested and knowing that they do not have covid.” this is the only infection control measure? – ‘as much as possible’ when wouldn’t it be possible to keep someone away from other patients known to have covid 19?

  7. Hat man
    April 20, 2021

    What a pathetic answer from a pathetic little man.

    You have ‘asked him many times’, Sir J., because he’s never given a straight answer, not to this, nor to anything else.

    He couldn’t even give you a clear assurance that PCR-positive patients are always kept separate from other patients. After 13 months of this, when we know hospitals are the prime drivers of infection.

  8. formula57
    April 20, 2021

    Can the Health Secretary state clearly please that “embedded” in “learning” means “better air extraction, cleaning and other measures to control infection” have been deployed all across the English N.H.S. and brought into commission? They are not the same and nice, uncomplaining chap though he is and on a sticky wicket I do not care for his lack of precision.

  9. agricola
    April 20, 2021

    With respect it will take a vast amount of thinking and acting beyond better ventilation to get the NHS responding to that which has backed up during Covid. If the government cannot see this they need to be put under heavy pressure to accept reality. Failure will lead to the electorate casting their verdict.

  10. ukretired123
    April 20, 2021

    Sir John please continue to press for the early freedom from lockdown based on proper risk analysis and proven forecasts by those such as Professor Philip Thomas of Bristol University and discount the error prone Neil Ferguson’s forecasts based on outdated models.

  11. Bryan Harris
    April 21, 2021

    Is he really saying that patients will have to suffer the indignity of being tested with a failed inaccurate method before being allowed into hospitals for normal treatments???

  12. X-Tory
    April 21, 2021

    One of the reasons the UK has suffered more deaths than other countries, despite them having infection rates just as high (if not higher) than ours, is because we have had so many more deaths in hospitals than they have. So you would expect the goverment to take this issue seriously, instead of fobbing you off with such a disrespectful non-reply. Has the government introduced UV air sterilisers in every ward? NO. Have they put ground-to-ceiling dividers between beds in wards, so that every patient is in a private mini room, so as to prevent infection spread? NO.

    So what – precisely – have they done to purify the air? We are not told. We are assured that they have learnt the importance of good ventilation (because clearly nobody had ever thought of this before), but how this has been turned into practice is clearly not something they are willing to reveal to a mere MP. We are told they are now separating Covid and non-Covid patients. Well, hallelujah! Only a year late …. How brain-dead did they have to be not to have thought of this from the start???

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