Hospitals and isolation

I have some questions for the senior managers at the top of the NHS.

Why did they decide that all the main District General hospitals should become the isolation and treatment centres for Covid 19?

Why did they decide to add several mega hospitals in open Exhibition space, but prefer not to use them as specialist and isolation units all the time case numbers could be absorbed by General hospitals?

Why didn’t they opt to hire hotels with separate bedrooms with individual bathrooms for virus patients? Wouldn’t it have been easier to control infection through simple modification of airflow systems for each room in such a configuration?

How do they  keep enough non emergency surgery and treatment going when the general hospitals are so preoccupied with virus cases? What has happened to workloads for non virus patients?

Isn’t  preventing  cross infection from the virus for people needing other emergency treatment in a general hospital more difficult than if there were specialist virus hospitals?

What are plans for handling the backlog of other work as the virus subsides, bearing in mind obvious pressures on all staff involved fighting the virus cases.

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  1. Stephen Priest
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Very good questions.

    They might have very good answers

    However, I don’t recall any of these being asked at the Daily Briefing.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:56 am | Permalink

      Good questions are rarely asked at the Daily Briefing. The questions are designed to try and trip up the experts and make the Government look foolish.

      May I suggest, a daily factual report by the Government, and the experts, and no silly questions from the Media, most of which have been asked and answered many times.

      Personally, I listen to the Daily Briefing, and switch off when it is time to take questions from the Press.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        The MSM is largely hostile to the government especially the Brussels Broadcasting Company.
        I no longer watch TV news as there are many good alternatives.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Why are the political hacks the ones asking the questions. Surely it should be the health hacks or the home affairs hacks.

        This disease is not political so why are the political hacks covering it?

        They should be furloughed as their job does not exist for the time being – there should be no politics just health. Peston and Kuensberg on £2.5K per month – delightful.

      • Hope
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        JR, some of your questions were asked by Hunt at his select committee weeks ago to four senior PHE officials including Stevens and chief operations officer. Watch or read her and Stevens answers about hotels or similar like cruise ships, pitiful truly pitiful.

        You might recall the Falklands where ships were turned into hospitals. US recently used one. Crucial questions were not asked by Hunt about what lessons they learned and what changes did they make following their exercise. I guess it was not asked because Hunt would or could be embarrassed as he was health secretary for years!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      The Daily Briefing yesterday was even more absurd than usual. Do they think it is aimed at rather dim primary school children? I can assure them very few children indeed are watching it or remotely interested in watching. Can they please answer the questions directly, sensibly and honestly. Please explain the exit planning now.

      They (claim anyway) we have plenty of hospital capacity so get on with it.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink


        We have been advised that the experts have not yet worked out an exit strategy, and so cannot advise the government yet.

        The problem with using experts all of the time is that common sense often goes out of the window.

        Just like JR’s simple questions this morning on isolation hospitals specifically built for purpose not being used first.

        We have a family member who’s cancer treatment in the form of chemo has been stopped, because they fear the cross infection risk of a patient with a low immune system catching covid 19 is a greater than stopping the treatment.

        • Hope
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          LL, it was pitiful. As was his failed explanation for breaking the law/rules. Arrogant pompous like Sharma the day before. At least the CMO in Scotland had the honesty put her hands up and resigned.

          The dishonesty of this govt should be ignored as it changes its mind, goal posts and explanations on a daily and weekly basis. Ministers even forget or careless what they said and did previously. No reasonably intelligent person will have any faith to carry out their civic duty to the authoritarian govt demands which have no scientific basis. Remember the experts on the propaganda panel said it was a low to moderate risk! Australia clearly did not agree with the WHO along with South Korea. Five eyes intelligence must be worthless or ignored if that was the case.

          A video of the Swedish expert advising his country on Guido to watch especially as he comments on the Imperial paper that was not peer reviewed or reviewed by any other body.

          If you watched Hunt question last month the chief operations officer for PHE along with Stevens you would have cringed at their lack of knowledge and what action should be taken. It was clear from their answers they were not up to the job and you certainly would not want them on your side during a disaster.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            I did see a bit of it. I have never been remotely impressed by Stevens or Selbie or indeed Hunt himself. Who has very many questions to answer on the abject incompetence of the NHS and governments pandemic planning and the 2016 exercise with the results buried. He did nothing to sort out the dire state monopoly structure of the NHS.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

            Today’s was appalling too. Something like – Thanks you very much Tamara for that very good, excellent and delightful question which I shall now ignore completely and waffle on about poor children, how schooling and their education. Then I shall pass you on to someone else an “expert” who will waffle some more while ignoring you question. She will probably say we cannot judge different countries responses for 18 months (this as the UK is nearly the very worst). Then I shall say how wonderful everyone is being, how wonderful the NHS is, how every one of these statistics is a real person being sadly mourned. Above all how safety is always “our primary concern” but we cannot even give staff suitable PPE or any date when they will have it. Also we keep pushing people out of hospitals to care homes without even testing them and do not bother to return calls to people who can make PPE.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        If I were a middle aged MP and I had a family at home in lockdown, I should make absolutely sure that I was with them. Wouldn’t anyone?

        • John E
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          Yes of course.

          The rush to find something or someone to condemn by the Twitter lynch mob is deplorable. This is what a police state looks like when supercharged by idiots wound up by social media outrage.

          I never believed the “couldn’t happen here” arguments and this crisis has proved the point. Many of our neighbours would have been enthusiastic Stasi informants.

        • Hope
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

          Mike, No. I would have suggested business continuity plans were examined in December/January when neighbouring countri s of China were expressing alarm especially as one was Australia and part of five eyes intelligence. All key ministers should have been placed in a quarantine establishment like Chequers even if that meant separation from family for two months.

          Would this not happen in a war? The reality is the govt were cavalier and did not think anything was going to happen and to carry on as normal. The tragedy is that even if that was its view why not contingency plan in any event!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Well, they are good questions and very easily answered.

      At the start of the outbreak here, Johnson said that we’d have to take it on the chin and that most of us would become infected, and many families would lose someone – he “levelled with us”.

      It was about developing “herd immunity”

      The implications were clear – the sooner this was over the better.

      So the NHS set about assisting the then apparent Government policy of spreading the virus as effectively as possible, or at least sharing that fatalism.

      By the time of the U-turn these measures were in place.

      It’s unclear to me whether there really has been a change in underlying policy too.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        And the scientists and clinicians of the civilised world were aghast.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          Not in Sweden.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

            Ed, the consensus of scientists and clinicians in Sweden are against what their own government is doing.

            Thousands have signed a letter of criticism.

            Please read and understand before posting – I’m not the first to remind you by far.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

            Yet their results are similar to others in Europe with different policies.

            And there will always be dissenting experts.
            The policies of the experts advising their government are the ones Sweden is following.

            It seems you dont like anyone to point out alternatives to your views.
            I’m not surprised, it is a typical attitude of those on the left.

          • bill brown
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

            stop being so much better than you are not

          • Edward2
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

            What an odd comment bill
            Is that the best you can do as a response?

        • Margaret Howard
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:13 pm | Permalink


          Angela Merkel’s address to the nation was a shining example how these things should be handled.

          Straight forward and treating the country as adults who were told the facts and consequences. She is a qualified scientist who knew what she was talking about. No flanneling.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Liar. He never said we’d have to take it on the chin. He said the exact opposite.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        The innitial policy will turn out to have been the right one.

        Grandma or economic ruin ? Deadly economic ruin.

        We didn’t have the luxury of choice but made one anyway.

        As a non manufacturing country we can’t produce PPE and just how much of it do we need to stockpile in order to have relations with communist China ?

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink


        Interesting and an excellent interview on the Marr show this morning for a change, with little interruption, he had Prof Sarah Gilbert as a guest who is an expert in vaccine development, indeed they are already very advanced and awaiting trails shortly .

        In her words , they have found that those who have recovered from Covid 19 may have some short term immunity from re-infection, but it is not long standing as it weakens quickly.
        Thus if I am not mistaken the herd immunity idea perhaps is not all its cracked up to be, hence second and third waves of reinfection are expected without a vaccine.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          Sadly that also implies that a vaccine may be hard to devise too.

          The correct approach is evidently and accordingly that of Greece, S. Korea, China etc.

          Eradicate it by mass testing, contact tracing, and quarantine.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

            Still accepting China’s data.
            How brave.
            We shall see soon.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

            We will.

          • czerwonadupa
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            We won’t. The Chinese Communist Party will make sure data is not realised that makes them look bad in the eyes of the world & they have the backing of the WHO . Their doctor who alerted the world found that out to his cost.

        • Know-Dice
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          Some excellent information from Prof Sarah Gilbert well worth picking up the interview on iPlayer…

        • Gary
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

          Deaths dropping at approx 40 a day excluding statistical anomalies. If this continues, the effective count will be in the 10s by end of month, and if you consider that dieing WITH seems to be included as dieing FROM, then the pandemic will essentially be over. Nightingale hospitals, kneejerk and panic reactions to build will be stood down. Life should be starting to return to pre virus days pretty quickly after this.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

            I’ll remind you of what you said in about twelve days time, Gary.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Grandma could have been isolated with judicious use of money. None of us were actually saying *do nothing*.

        I think we are not being told the truth but it is coming out, finally. Obesity is the single most lethal condition to have (except for age) when it comes to COVID-19.

        Hence the ‘U’ turn by the British government when they found out about it. 60% of British people have it and the NHS was already being crippled by this ‘epidemic’ which it named as its biggest killer.

        It is a credit to our nation that the NHS was so well funded that it was able to indulge self inflicted obesity and to keep other people alive with comorbidities which COVID-19 preys upon.

        The double whammy of having so many people kept alive whilst ill and being unable to produce our own PPE is making us especially exposed to COVID-19 which started in China and which their government lied to us about .

        We cannot deliver the cost free slogan “Save lives, Save the NHS, stay at home – LOSE WEIGHT” because this is politically incorrect.

        Just as it was politically incorrect to shut our borders to slow the disease getting in.

        PS and off topic. I dont believe that smoking prevents COVID-19 infection. I believe it is far more likely that the families of patients in Spain and Italy quickly got wind that smokers would not be put on ventilators and so no-one admitted to being a smoker when taken to hospital with ARDS.

      • Helen Smith
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        You know as well as I do that he never said take it on the chin, he said some say we should but he doesn’t think that the way to go. Full fact have a handy explainer if you care to google it.

        Why do Labour supporters lie all the time, about everything?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          That was not in quotation marks, it was my paraphrase of his message which was clear, and amounted to exactly that.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

            No it wasn’t.
            It didn’t amount to exactly that.
            Stop lying.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            OK, did he not say that many of us would lose a family member?

            Come on?

          • Edward2
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

            He didn’t say what you said he said.

        • Cheshire Girl
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          They do it to try and make the Government look bad. Truth doesn’t come into it.

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Didn’t the U.K. close down just one or two days after France even though they were a week or ten days ahead of us?

        The Germans what day did they lock down and close their schools, no-one seems to mention them? Also who made the test kits they used and when did they buy them if imported?

        • hefner
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          Germany 10/03 schools closed, 15/03 borders closed, 22/03 total lock-down.
          France 15/03 local elections, 17/03 total lock-down.
          The UK 23/03 PM announces lock-down.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            So the UK locked down one day after Germany.

          • hefner
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

            Edward2, the difference is that by 22/03 Germany had already tested more than 200,000 people, knew it had 24,873 cases with 22,071 active cases and 94 deaths whereas the UK was just starting to take the problem seriously (6,650 cases, 6,180 active cases, 335 deaths). (All numbers from worldometer for whoever is able to use these interactive tables and graphs).

            So I agree a difference of one day but a very different grasp of the problem, not surprising given that a large number of Germans had returned in the previous weeks from skiing holidays in Northern Italy, which was known to be a potentially heavily infected area.

          • hefner
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

            As reported first in the NewStatesman then in the Sunday Telegraph, the recommendations of the exercise Cygnus of October 2016 were not considered by the Government. Prof. Dame Sally Davies (who was England’s Chief Medical Officer at the time) said to the World Innovation Summit for Health in December’16 ‘We’ve just had in the UK a three-day exercise on flu, on a pandemic that killed a lot of people. It became clear that we could not cope with the excess bodies’. At the same meeting she had also singled out the lack of an adequate number of ventilators (as was at the time reported in the Daily Express).
            Whatever way one might want to twist and turn, the UK Government had been made aware and …

          • Edward2
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

            And France locked down two days before us.
            There are many nations taking many different actions with different population densities, age demographics, different overall health levels, different border controls and different health systems.
            Even lockdown restrictions vary greatly.

            The exercise you write about in your second post is something a number of nations have done over the years and they do help nations to prepare in case something does happen but all have been unable to cope perfectly as critics with hindsight like yourself demand.

          • a-tracy
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

            Hefner you are splitting hairs here, the U.K. government announced the lockdown on Friday 20th March from midnight so we were closed that Saturday 21st March 2020.

            Furthermore, Nicola Sturgeon came out of a Cobra meeting on Wednesday 18th March and told everyone Boris was about to shut down London, I know schools emptied in London the next day as thousands of parents and other Couples with second homes disappeared out of the City before the lockdown [i think I read 200,000 left London]

  2. Javelin
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Far from being a Churchillian figure and advising the British to “Keep calm and bugger on”, Boris has let the country be sucked into a MSM emotional meltdown with the surrendering timid thought “every life matters”.

    In 1968, when 80,000 British people died of the Hong King flu it barely registered in the national psyche as London kept swinging and the stock market rose.

    Meanwhile in Sweden they expect to reach herd immunity in a few weeks when deaths will fall permanently and they will watch the “timid Brits” surrendering in our homes.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink


      Your first paragraph echos what I have been saying for three weeks. Most of my comments should now be out of moderation if you can be bothered to go back and look.

      A lot has changed since 1968. The Second World War was still in the minds of many and there was real hardship. We were still an industrialised nation and were a lot tougher. Todays generation are not refered to as snowflakes for no reason 😉

      • Hope
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Javelin/ Mark, whatever action or strategy the govts was going to take it needed at the very least to review intelligence and cause all national plans to be reviewed for preparedness. It is evident it failed in every regard.

      • Leaver
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Have to correct you here.

        Sweden is broadly under lockdown, despite reports to the country.

        Most Swedes are not going out and staying at home like everyone else. For the obvious reason that they too are terrified their older relatives will catch it and die, and also because they do not wish their health service to be overwhelmed.

        Also, regarding the field hospitals in the UK. I believe they are being put in place so we have capacity for all the people who are going to die when lockdown ends and there is another surge in deaths.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink


          Agreed it is now being reported that most Swedish people are self isolating, as indeed did many here before lockdown and will many here even after the Government releases lockdown.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          Yes, they are Swedish, not English, American, nor any other people.

          • Fred H
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

            Martin – when did you last travel in Sweden?
            Currently the ethnic mix starts with Swedes 80% and then all manner of immigrants… higher than in the UK.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

            Why should people from other places not acquire at least some of the morës of Sweden?

            Twenty percent is still a relatively small minority too.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

            As are Americans and us here in the UK.
            I’m nor sure what point you are trying to make Martin.

    • BOF
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      Indeed Javelin, this is the age of the snowflake, especially if they are in Government.

    • BeebTax
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Our MSM wields too much power, without responsibility. The likes of the BBC use their privileged position to influence public opinion, rather than to report even-handedly on events. We’ve seen this over Brexit and now with the Coronavirus.

      The MSM back in 1968 was not hell bent on undermining everything the democratically- elected government did, regardless of the consequences for our country. The fourth estate has, sadly, now become a malevolent force.

    • formula57
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      @ Javelin – there could be no such thing as herd immunity with Covid-19 and if there is, it could be of short duration.

      Accordingly, expecting herd immunity and relying upon it would not be appropriate. (Note also Swedish policy does not aim for herd immunity, rather sees that as a by-product of its strategy.)

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        If there is no such thing as herd immunity with this virus there is also no such thing as a vaccine. So in that case what do you suggest ?

        • formula57
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          @ Roy Grainger – there still may be treatments but otherwise self-isolation or a very stoic disposition would seem to be the choices.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          What Greece, China, S. Korea, Taiwan etc. have done.

          Where have you been?

    • Alison
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      We’re all so ‘woke’ now. If anybody says anything that isn’t ‘woke’, they are cast out beyond the pale.
      But I’m sure sinews can be stiffened in our snowflake islands, with a bit of simple communication – including some playing on the woke strings. eg Many many more people will die from cancer as an indirect result of the lockdown.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Alas we are not tough enough to deserve the freedoms and the wealth we have enjoyed (this was earned by previous generations.)

        So off it goes.

        Bye bye.

        (Note how COVID-19 is being turned into a political revolution.)

    • Mark
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      I remember 1968 more for the Paris riots. If course then it was the left who were the cheerleaders. A strange echo that we now have the gilets jaunes.

  3. Stred
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    The cancer consultant Dr Sikora was calling for an end to the situation where cancer, heart and other life threatening diseases are not being treated because more than a few weeks is not tolerable. Now that the Nightingale hospital is apparently underused, because the lockdown has worked, the general hospitals could be deep cleaned and sanitised facilities for non-covid patients reopened, with separate tested staff. The treatment of patients like the old man who was treated for a broken ankle, was infected and then discharged to a care home was appalling.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      That’s a valid point about the NHS concentrating only on the virus while other medical issues have been ignored.

      How many ‘other medical issues’ that were not treated resulted in deaths or incapacitation?

      • oldwulf
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        Bryan. I confess to a vested interest in the non-treatment of other medical issues. I was due to have minor surgery on 8 April. It was cancelled. Even before the covid 19 lock down, the NHS date for the surgery would have been many months away andso I was prepared to put my hand in my pocket and pay. The NHS then commandeered the local hospital.

        At the time I thought, in all the circumstances, it was the right decision. Now, I am not so sure. The NHS seems to be chaotic and out of control. It is a monolith which is probably unmanageable. I do not have an answer.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        And the untold deaths when the NHS collapses because the economy surrounding it has been sacrificed to “Save the NHS” and we’ve all been drummed into applauding it like seals being thrown kippers.

        • bigneil(newercomp)
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          Get ready for the flood of claims against the NHS for people “not getting their proper treatment in time”. And a lot of them will be fraudulent from scammers.

      • peter soakel
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        week 12 2019, ER admissions-160,000, week 12, 2020 ER admissions, 60,000. Go figure)

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      I suspect the Nightingale Hospital has lots of beds and partitions but very few medical staff and real capacity.

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        From 1 April Ms Forrest CHief operating officer said: “The numbers are scary, but if I tell you that to run one ward, including all of our ancillary staff, we need 200 members of staff.”

        The hospital will initially aim to care for 42 patients, before its expansion is “ramped up” to ensure it can meet its full 4,000-bed capacity in two weeks’ time if needed, the Nightingale’s chief medical director Alan McGlennan said.’ Itv

  4. oldtimer
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    These are very good questions. Nevertheless, if the so-called replies to journalists at the daily briefings are any guide, I do not expect you to get any actual answers. Instead you will get waffle, thanks for your question, repetition of the question, agreement that something must be done, misdirection by talking about anything but the subject of your question but no actual answer.

    • agricola
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      The media is equally guilty because they use point scoring political journalists rather than journalists that specialise in the subject.

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        Quite right. The ‘questions’ are now more like accusations , in the vein of ‘ will you now apologise for……..’.

        We learn nothing from these so called press ‘questions’. I suggest, keep the briefings short and factual, and let the public make up its own mind. I don’t need vastly overpaid Reporters/Presenters, to tell me what to think.

        • a-tracy
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          Do you know how many patients are in hospital in Cheshire today with CV19?
          how many are on ventilators?
          how many have been treated in our NHS hospitals in Cheshire and recovered sufficient to go home?
          How many died in hospital of CV19 not their other conditions?
          How many CV19 patients are in our private hospitals in Cheshire? Same questions as above?
          Cheshire was locked down early in the transmission cycle, are there new patients going in right now after 3 weeks? Are they family members or work colleagues of those already treated in hospital?

          • Cheshire Girl
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

            I no longer live in. Cheshire. I live near London now, but my. Cheshire friends keep in touch. They are very worried.and are under lockdown. I believe the most cases are around the Manchester area. I don’t have any further details.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      They are waiting for the return of the Deus ex Machina…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        Indeed and that will come, firstly in the form of some better treatment methods or drugs that lower mortality rates significantly – keeping people alive longer so as to give them more time to fight off the virus.

        Then followed later hopefully not too much later by some working vaccines.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Indeed, why too were patients sometimes pushed out of hospital to free up beds (but then into recovery homes, care homes and back to their families without being tested for the virus? Thus spreading the infection very effectively in some cases. Often to people and staff at serious risk and without property PPE and other equipment. One case (that I know of personally) an elderly man (who had had a stroke) was admitted to hospital but was then sent to both a recovery home and them on home to his extended facility with nurses coming daily to see him. Only then to be re-admitted to hospital and finally tested for the first time then. It it likely he caught the infection while in hospital the first time.

    He was found to be positive and died a day later.

    He alone might will perhaps have infected as many a 20 people.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      Extended family not facility!

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Sounds daft to be moving patients around unnecessarily in these circumstances.
      Same with nursing and agency staff.
      Ironic that the country at large has got this but not the NHS.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Indeed. Keep away from hospital and nursing homes seems like good advice. Until they have better treatments and methods.

        • Fred H
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          take your chances at home seems to be a better proposition.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

            Yes, it does.

  6. Mark B
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Shouldn’t you be directing these questions to the Minister of Minister of State, Caroline Dinenage MP and Secretary of State, Matt Hancock ? You know, the people in charge and ultimately responsible.

    Already we are seeing the blame game. Your colleagues were put in positions of authority and both they and their departments were found wanting.

    • Robert Mcdonald
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      The ministers have been in post for only weeks or a few months. The civil servants are paid professionals at a job they have been well paid at for years. They are the ones who are entirely responsible for any failures.

      • Hope
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Para 4 question was asked over and over again by Hunt to chief operations officer of PHE who after failing to answer the question asked Stevens to jump in and he was equally useless.

        Might still be available on catch up, if you want to depress yourself.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Not really. NHS people are highly paid to make these decisions.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        But not if it were a Labour government, I take it?

    • formula57
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      @ Mark B – managing the “blame game” is important if, as seems probable, “the people in charge and ultimately responsible” have been fed poor advice by experts and NHS managers.

    • Ginty
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Address all of that to civil servant Sir Mike Sedwill.

      He has been in charge of the show for some while now.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Guy’s, thanks.


  7. SM
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    I am normally and justifiably very pessimistic about the NHS’ ability to manage a kindergarten potato sack race, HOWEVER ~ I can see that keeping patients in a physical environment (the DGH) that already has on site its trained staff and its facilities and stocks of equipment makes sense.

    I have read that some Trusts have diverted non-infected patients to private hospitals under the current circumstances; it seems few of the public know that the NHS is permitted to purchase such services when the public hospitals are overwhelmed, and consultants tend to keep very quiet about it.

    • agricola
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Many consultants do the same job in both the NHS and private hospitals.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Very sensible indeed for the NHS to pay to use private hospital that have suitable capacity. They should do it more often. Indeed people needing operations & on NHS waiting lists should be offered perhaps 50% of the cost of this operation to go and have it done privately without the wait if they can afford to. Saving the NHS money and cutting the waiting for others and getting more money into health care.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Yes it is sensible to requisition private hospitals I hope that the government also then refund all private insurance payers when they took over and closed down their access to treatments they had booked.

  8. Pat
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Here on the Isle of Man the police have issued a warning to people delivering medecine food etc that they are uninsured for this activity and must stop.

    This would affect the lady who dropped off medecine to myself in isolation, on her own time, using her own car, after a very busy day on a chemist’s counter.

    Any suggestions to solve this conundrum would be very welcome.

    Thank you for your efforts

    • Mark B
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Any suggestions to solve this conundrum would be very welcome.

      Yes. Don’t tell anyone !

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Firstly, what business is that if the police, but secondly that is a perfect example of the mindset, the weak-mimdedness of those who should inspire confidence. What have is the entire opposite. Clearly they would rather say things like that than put themselves in harms way to catch those who commit crime. No doubt the Chief thinks he is oh so brave.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Not an expert but:

      Car insurance usually covers social, domestic, and pleasure,

      Some may also include as standard, a journey to and from a place of business/work

      Some may also stipulate a mileage maximum per annum.

      I would have though doing a bit of volunteer work for no fee would come under either social, or pleasure.

      The solution is to ask your insurance company to clarify, so you can argue the case with Police, most of whom are very sensible.

      You may also find that some local charitable organisations are covered for such work as standard within their Public and Liability insurance. I believe all Lions Clubs are not just for their members, but volunteer helpers as well.

      Best of luck.

      • bigneil(newercomp)
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        “ask your insurance company to clarify,” – I’ll clarify it for you – they want your money, but will do their damnedest to not pay anything out. The more they make, the more they – and the govt – gets.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

          big neil
          Never had a problem with clarifying car insurance.

          Holiday travel insurance is another matter entirely, any little clause or omission, and they are very reluctant to pay out without a fight.

      • Ignoramus
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Alan Jutson is right. I have delivered Meals on Wheels for some time and all that is necessary is to check your insurance company agrees, which they do provided you are not being paid.

    • agricola
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Government direction of the insurance industry.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      There is no pecuniary reward, and I can’t see this is part of a commercial use, but rather domestic, social and pleasure.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Do they still birch people for this offence? Surely unpaid voluntary work is allowed on these insurance policies?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        I do loads of unpaid voluntary work – mainly for my wife, children and extended family.

        • bigneil(newercomp)
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

          But LL – they repay you with their love and appreciation. That should be enough.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Pity that they didn’t do something to stop some people from concealing the flow of money to subvert democracy in the UK.

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Complete over reach by the police, in my view. This sort of nonsense should be stopped and quickly by some direction from the government.

  9. Pat
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    I should add that car insurance here is made through UK insurers, and I wonder whether a similar problem may impact UK volunteers

    • Mark
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      I think that was addressed by the NHS volunteer scheme. After all, at the moment the risk of accidents is much reduced. I think there was a formal extension of cover imposed on insurers of volunteers, with other arrangements for those driving vehicles that were not their own.

    • John E
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Your Isle of Man police chief is wrong. There is specific motor insurance guidance on the Association of British Insurers website Covid 19 hub at that contradicts him.

      Their pledge 4 is:
      Support those who use their cars to help their communities. If you are using your own car for voluntary purposes to transport medicines or groceries to support others who are impacted by Covid-19, your cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover. This applies to all categories of NHS Volunteer Responders, including transporting patients, equipment, or other essential supplies.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Insurers’ accident repairs payout must be tumbling as a result of dramatically fewer miles being driven on almost empty roads. I don’t think anyone provides cover for batteries going flat – never to recover? Will we get a refund of premiums in the coming months – pigs might fly!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Worth keeping the charger handy.

        • Fred H
          Posted April 20, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          I don’t go anywhere in the car without a pair of sturdy jumper cables in the boot – – proved to be worth their weight in gold for several people I have come across stranded.

  10. SM
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Re yesterday’s topic of PPE supply, an article in yesterday’s D Telegraph states that UK Ministers are pleading with countries such as Egypt, India, Taiwan and Turkey to release medicine and PPE supplies that are ‘part of pre-existing UK orders’ but have now been requisitioned by the manufacturing nations’ governments.

    One wonders what would be the reaction of many posters here were the position reversed?

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      I think we all know what that would be.

      There would be an immediate outcry from the usual suspects, the Media, being the main one – for whom this Government never seems to do anything right.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Real outrage over an imaginary proposition it is again then, rather like there was over the “European Union Could Ban British Banger” headline, and other nonsense.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Well the problem is reliance by the NHS on unreliable suppliers, which is an NHS purchasing issue.

      I wouldn’t blame the Egyptian health service at all for abandoning a UK supplier who let them down like this, and if necessary suing them for consequential loss.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        In which court’s jurisdiction would you sue them?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Heard on the radio that “tons” of PPE will arrive from Turkey today. I’m wondering what (or who) else we have to accept to have got this.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        it ain’t gonna happen.

      • JoolsB
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Been delayed and not arriving now. Meanwhile tons of PPE arrived at Glasgow Airport this morning for the Scottish NHS. As the bulk of cases are in England, maybe Sturgeon might donate some to England And if not, maybe she should be made to. It was also on the news this morning that the UK Government gave 260,000 pieces of PPE to China at the end of February. What were they thinking? Beginning to think our lives and livelihoods are in the hands of a bunch of useless idiots.

        • M Davis
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          … the UK Government gave 260,000 pieces of PPE to China at the end of February …

          It was reported that the Chinese has given us way above the amount that we have given them. I think that was Gove on the Marr programme.

      • Iago
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Oh, just something to accelerate further the destruction of the country.

  11. Pat
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Air conditioning units in modern hotel rooms are usually individual to each room, located in the section of dropped ceiling just inside the room door. In addition there is a toilet extract system which may be common to adjacent rooms but which maintains negative pressure in the toilet/bathroom and will tend to extract airborne particles from that area.

    These details can easily be checked with any hotel under consideration.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Plus they usual have those windows you can only open an inch or two due to absurd OTT health and safely and those very dim glow worm light bulbs. Oh and bath taps limited to delivering tepid water. Best to take a few tools with you to adjust the windows and a bright light bulb or two I find.

  12. The Prangwizard
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    How many patients have entered hospital without it but died with it or of it?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Rather a lot I suspect, and loads more in nursing homes too.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Anyone over 75 or suffering a pre existing life threatening condition must not be said to have died *of* COVID-19.

      Otherwise – if we’re gong to be that vague – let’s have every suicide, every domestic murder, every mugging ‘gone wrong’, every murderous aggravated burglary, every above average cancer death … all of it attributed to Government Reaction to COVID-19.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        A friend of ours, a keep-fit enthusiast in her forties, is in hospital with kidney failure thanks to CV19.

        And now we hear that contracting it probably does not confer lasting immunity.

        • Fred H
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          Martin – I am very sorry to hear that. I lost my eldest sister last year, in her 80s, to kidney failure that even after emergency dialysis was non-survivable. Of course there were other known serious health effects, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Best wishes for her recovery.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

            Thank you Fred.

            The great news is that she is now out of hospital having apparently suffered temporary acute inflammation.

  13. Sharon Jagger
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    The private hospital near me has only 22 NHS patients in it and they only arrived this week! So it would not appear to be making good use of those facilities for non-Covid patients.

  14. Sharon Jagger
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    “What has happened to workloads for non virus patients?”

    From the doctors who have called into LBC or Talk Radio – cancer patients – nothing! The Oncology doctors have been moved across to Covid-19 wards.

  15. Jiminyjim
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    The media has completely lost the plot. Where on earth are the investigative journalists of old who would have considered it their job to get to the heart of what is going on in the supply of PPE for example? When did media decide that their sole purpose was to make HMG look foolish? They seem to have no idea of what the general population now thinks of them

    • Fred H
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      get hold of a Sunday Times today!

  16. Sakara Gold
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The simple answer is these mistakes happened because of rank incompetence at the top. How people such as Matt Hancock become Health Secretary escapes me – however, seen as a safe pair of hands his Establishment credenials are impecable. Hancock studied for a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE!) at Exeter College, Oxford, and an MPhil in Economics at Christ’s College, Cambridge, as a postgraduate student. He was an economist at the Bank of England before serving as a senior economic advisor and then later Chief of Staff to George Osborne.

    He has no medical qualifications whatsoever, neither has he any experience of managing complex large organisations. He will go down in UK history (along with Sir Roland Vallance) for the probable 100,000 fatalaties associated with the Chinese plague virus pandemic and the utterance “we will not be stopping flights from Italy”

    Hancock, Vallance, Shapps, Johnson (“Operation Last Gasp”) all failed to grasp the essential feature of the Chinese plague virus – it is unbelievably contagious with a high morbidity to those suffering high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. For those interested in a deeper analysis of what went wrong, yesterdays’ Guardian has a well-researched piece;

    It is going to take a huge national effort to control this virus. In my view, heads must roll first.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      It is not” unbelievably contagious” – that is just unscientific rubbish. So I’ll ignore the rest of your post on that basis.

      • forthurst
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Surely a fair description, Roy, as it took the WHO to March 11th to realise they had a pandemic on their hands and for coverage of northern Italy to wake up the asleep at the wheel, art graduates who run our country to the exclusion of people with brains, to the need for urgent action to avert a national catastrophe, namely the prospective reportage in the DM of the under-resourced and totally unprepared NHS being overwhelmed with cases.

    • rose
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Whose heads would you have cut off for the 80,000 British deaths from Hong Kong ‘flu in 1968 or didn’t you notice?

      • rose
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        And how would the no borders extremists have reacted if our borders had been shut?

        • Sakara Gold
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          Countries like New Zealand, S Korea, Taiwan, Singapore locked their borders down as soon as the WHO pronounced early in January that “the Chinese government has the situation under control” and ” there is no evidence of person-to-person transmission”

          They then implemented mass testing of suspected cases, their contacts and quarantined those that tested positive. Social distancing was implemented almost immediately. Now they have only a few hundreds of cases or at most a thousand – and very few deaths.

          Thanks to failing to close or borders early enough, the England Wales rugby final and the Cheltenal Gold Cup, we have probably millions of infected and tens of thousands of fatalities. As it stands, if we end the lockdown now, two weeks later the NHS will be overwhelmed. Is that what you want for the privilege of being able to pop out for a pint/glass of wine or a restaurant meal?

          Better to be skint and repossesed than becoming another statistic for the government to spin

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

            Yes, it’s interesting, that Trump claims that the Chinese are lying about their success in dealing with the virus, as if that also invalidates the successes by the nations that you list, Sakara.

            It doesn’t at all, and they starkly highlight his blundering, disastrous, deluded approach.

          • Anonymous
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

            We couldn’t close our borders for political correctness. And we can’t advise people to lose weight in time for further waves because of political correctness.

            We are in the end stages of a Marxist putsch don’t you know.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

            Rubbish, anon – the borders were not closed because the UK simply lacked the organisational capacity, and or the political will to deal with the practical problems which that would have caused.

            It was just too much bother, in the face of needless and unfounded fatalism about the epidemic too.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        The ones that shutdown the economy. Oh wait, they didn’t do that ! They just carried on.

        The government has politicised this and taken ownership. He has gained extra powers over us that it did not need. I bet when this is finally all over those powers will not be revoked ?

    • Ignoramus
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Agreed. Questions must be asked about why Jeremy Hunt authorised the report into a big 2016 Pandemic Preparation exercise to be classified secret and nothing other than gettung more money being done about it.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink


      According to Imperial College reports:

      Covid 19 has a multiplier rate Ru of about 2.6

      Measles has a multiple rate Ru of about 17

      So Measles is hugely more infectious than Covid 19 as are many other virus, but they are manageable by volume vaccination.

      Unfortunately we do not have a vaccine yet for Covid 19. hence the problem.

      • Sakara Gold
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        We don’t know how many people get infected before the symptoms appear, the Imperial College guestimates on transmission rates are just that, guestimates.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Measles used to infect most of a class, and a sibling’s too… the fools who don’t innoculate are asking to get it back.
        Covid-19 initially had a much higher rate, until the early symptoms were publicised.

    • Iago
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

  17. BOF
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Good questions Sir John, but please do no not hold your breath waiting for answers.

    This morning I hear on the radio that over seventies may be required to remain in lockdown for another year! Whoever dreamed this up knows nothing about my age group. I certainly have no intention of losing a whole year of my life to the Chinese Virus and I will not be alone, so full scale non compliance can be expected.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      BOF – – Perhaps Andy will be shocked to hear of the likely outcome of over-70s in lockdown for a year.
      No child school drop offs/collections. No after school collections/minding for the working parents. Very few charity shops open. Many museums/out door facilities unable to be staffed. Many other organisations relying on older volunteers closed. Lots of volunteer hospital travel runs stopped. Evening classes reduced as older experts confined to home. Suicides and murders rise as tensions get out of control with 4 walls syndrome.

    • Martyn G
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      You most certainly will not be alone. Nearing 80, I have no intention of giving up my general aviation flying and river boating activities, nor shall I stop being a volunteer lock keeper on the Thames for a whole year. Tomorrow will start my 5th week in isolation, dependant on good neighbours for supplies (no supermarket will give me a delivery date of less than a month away) and, thus far, just barely tolerable but another year? Are they quite mad?

  18. Alan Jutson
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    All this arguing over using some PPE more than once.

    No one is arguing that anyone should go from patient to patient without it being washed or cleaned first, secondly some normal bits of equipment are not used only once eg bed sheets, mattress protection, ventilation machines, monitors and equipment of all sorts, perhaps even cups, plates and knives and forks.

    The simple question/answer is, if they can be washed and or disinfected properly, are they safe, if so then re-use, if not, then reject.

    I hope all of this plastic and paper waste is not going to landfill but is being incinerated within a reclamation plant using equipment that produces some electricity.

    • oldtimer
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      If soap and water is good enough for our self protection why is it not good enough for PPE?

      There is another (chlorine dioxide based) disinfectant widely used (c50% penetration of the market) in hospitals for medical instruments that are poked inside us – down throats, up noses and into other places I shall refrain from mentioning. Has anyone thought to test its effectiveness for disinfecting PPE? If not they should do so pronto because it would save a lot of time and a lot of money. It is made by Tristel,, a company based near Newmarket.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      the 84 tons of medical supplies from Turkey will not arrive today- Sunday. It might be days away – until Turkey decides it has a great bargaining chip?

      • rose
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Or maybe we have been gazumped.

    • Dee
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      The hypocracy is that while complaning about their plastic aprons to protect them they work with bare arms?????

  19. Kevin
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    The Health Secretary appears to be in an unenviable position relative to the Chancellor. The latter has the help of the Bank of England which, since the financial crisis at least, has had the power to say, “Let there be money”, and behold, there were hundreds of billions of pounds. If only the Health Secretary could say, “Let there be PPE”.

  20. agricola
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    You ask the question of senior NHS managers, but expect us from a position of ignorance , mostly, to provide the answers. So here goes.

    At the time they decided to use General Hospitals it was all they had. They might have considered using private hospitals.

    They opted for mega isolation hospitals in anticipation of the problem outgrowing General Hospitals. As to the reluctance to use them, perhaps it is down to their limited facilities beyond beds, oxygen and nursing. The Nightingale hospitals were a piece of quick thinking whereas the lack of PPE was not.

    Maybe they should have considered modern hotels that could have been good for isolation and catering. However storing existing beds etc and re-equipping them would have been more complex than creating the military type casualty clearing facilities they did.

    None emergency surgery should run as normal but for the caveat of cross infection. Avoiding that risk is possibly the underlying reason. As to the effect on workloads it is dependant on how many staff get re-directed to fighting Covid-19.

    Yes cross infection of emergency patients must be a risk, but at the outset when there were no alternative isolation hospitals you could only limit it by creating , as far as was practical, sealed units within the General Hospital.

    As to afterwards, perhaps we will have to have a period of 24/7 three shift operation to allow a process of catch up. It might mean a cessation of private hospitals as such and possibly their re-designation as NHS hospitals , but only for as long as is necessary. It might also be necessary that the hip in Birmingham is dealt with in Aberdeen. It will be a case of balancing the work load against available facilities. I would suggest that a NHS management and government team starts planning now for this eventuality.

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      They have apparently commissioned private hospitals and effectively put them out of action too, agricola. Huge amount of medical care and treatment held up in that sector, a sector which takes a large load off the shoulders of the NHS in normal times.

    • John Barleycorn
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Well put, Agricola. The high number of asymptomatic carriers means that anyone coming into hospital, staff or patient, is a potential carrier. , We need to be able to test every patient before they come in and every member of staff every day. In waiting areas, capacity will need to be drastically reduced so people don’t spread the virus.
      Between every Hospital procedure, rooms will have to be disinfected. This will reduce capacity at least two-fold.
      Many operations require an ICU to be available, just in case there are complications. For example, bowel surgery for cancer. Once it’s known how many ICU beds virus patients will need, then capacity for operations can be worked out.
      Oncology is a big problem because many drugs cause immunosuppression. These patients can only go to virus-free hospitals, if at all.
      There are at least two issues with the Nightingale hospitals. First, staff have to be moved there from other hospitals and ICU staff are in short supply. Second, we need the ambulance capacity to move people across regions to them. There isn’t currently capacity,so general hospitals have to cope.
      A better option is to get private hospitals working on NHS cases and stay virus-free. This will take a few staff away from the NHS, but will allow some urgent operations and clinics to occur.

      Test, test, and test again.

  21. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Well I guess these new facilities were outside their orbit, and they didn’t know when or if they would be ready.

    HOWEVER, once they were ready, yes, you’d have thought they’d use them exclusively and keep the general hospitals as free as possible.
    Personal knowledge here of a nurse in a general hospital operating theatre now suffering from the virus and isolated in an NHS caravan.

    There seems to be very little ability in the NHS to make use of any resources outside its little orbit. Even running a small business, I know who makes specialist kit round the world. If particular suppliers can’t get up to speed, I’ll likely have 10-15 others who can, and if the supply threat goes beyond that, how do we make the kit ourselves? Thinking along these lines seems to be in short supply.

  22. Lifelogic
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Newsnight still going on about BAME over representation in the Covid death. This when the real and huge over representation is men by 2:1 and old people. But this of course does not interest them.

    The BAME “over representation” is almost certainly not true (if you compare with non BAME people in the same areas, doing similar jobs with similar housing etc.). It is just they they tend to live in the cities that are worst affected you have to compare like with like.

    Identity politics (like the politics of envy is evil). Much loved of lefty dopes like David Lammy and Theresa May types (gender rather than BAME in the case of the dire May).

    • Andy
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Age and gender does interest them. Newsnight – and the BBC more generally – repeatedly have reports on about what Covid has done to elderly and vulnerable people in care homes.

      I watched a piece on Newsnight last week asking about why the virus is deadlier for men.

      These are legitimate questions – and they are most definitely being asked. By all journalists.

      But whether you like it or not BAME ‘over-representation’ is an issue too. And it will continue to be asked. Because it is important families of the victims get answers – whether or not it offends your sensibilities.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Might be something in it perhaps, diabetes is for example more common among African-Americans and Asian-Americans compared to whites. But the main reason is surely just where they live (mainly in cities) and the jobs they do. You have to compare with people in similar circumstances. Not the UK population as a whole.

    • John E
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      I disagree there. It’s a very clear pattern across multiple countries.
      The best explanation I have heard is to do with Vitamin D deficiency. It’s a very important factor for a healthy immune system.
      The only evolutionary advantage of white skin is that it is more efficient at creating vitamin D in northern (and southern antipodean) climes.
      PHE has advised us all to take vitamin D supplements for some years now because there isn’t enough sun here for most of the year. Those with darker skin are much more likely to be deficient.
      The easiest thing we can all do to help protect ourselves is to take Vitamin D supplements along with helping our bodies make some more by getting out in the sun and eating oily fish and eggs. Remember daily doses of cod liver oil when we were children?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 2:51 am | Permalink

        But the police move you on for sunbathing and it is a bit chilly still for most!

        It seems diabetes and obesity also reduce your chances of surviving the virus too. Perhaps get your BMI down into to the normal 18.5 to 24.9 range perhaps too.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Apparently BAME stands for Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority ( non-white) – about 30-40 years from now the White English will be the Ethnic Minority here.

    • peter soakel
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      vitamin D deficiency and the practice of covering up head to toe so no sunlight gets in.
      Nothing to do with ‘waycism’

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Sready on there
        Stop introducing truth into the discussion.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      It would appear, at least in the UK, that men are twice as likely to die as women, that blood group O survives bettter than group A, that the incidence of death rises sharply once over 60, then 70 , then 80+. The average number of identified ‘existing conditions’ for those who died is 3.
      BAME might possibly be another risk, but investigations are at an early stage.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Viruses do not discriminate, unless you are old or have some underlying illness. One of the reasons could be the fact that one of the main way a contagion is through close human interaction, and that is more likely to happen in built up areas like large cities. London and other cities have high immigrant populations.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 2:52 am | Permalink


  23. RichardM
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    ThecSunsay times has it about right.
    Coronavirus: 38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster
    Boris Johnson skipped five Cobra meetings on the virus, calls to order protective gear were ignored and scientists’ warnings fell on deaf ears. Failings in February may have cost thousands of lives.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink


      Micheal Gove on Andrew Marr this morning debunked a lot of this so called reporting, so fake news if you believe him, and he gave very good and sensible facts in his answers.

      • Andy
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        You believe Gove? On what basis?

        This government is incompetent. That should be your starting point.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink


          Because he talked a lot of common sense which would be logical to anyone who ever ran any sort of business, large or small, the MD does not attend every single meeting when they think they have competent heads of department, to do that for them and who then report back.

          The MD only steps in when things are appearing to get out of control.

          Indeed it has now been reported in the media that Boris is gradually taking back control and has now put someone in overall charge of the purchase and logistics of PPE.

          Not aware of his track record, but apparently the put together organisation of the 2012 olympics, which was completed on time.

          So its hopefully some of those people who have failed so far will get their act together.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          Has there ever been a government that you thought was competent ?

          • Andy
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

            I thought the coalition government was competent. Blair was competent for most of his first term. Thatcher was competent in her second term then lost the plot.

            Further afield Clinton and Obama were both highly competent – though Clinton was a deeply flawed man. The last competent Republican was Bush Senior.

            The incumbent president is the most incompetent America has ever had. Bar none. Johnson is the most incompetent PM since WW2.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 2:56 am | Permalink

            No clearly not. They do things for political reasons rather than because they work or have good outcomes for the people. Furthermore most ministers have no maths, science, engineering, economics or knowledge of business. In short they rarely have a clue. Even where they are good the civil service generally ensure little progress in the right direction is made.

        • Fred H
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          I’m coming round to your way of thinking Andy…….don’t die of shock – just on this one point.

        • Margaret Howard
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:40 pm | Permalink


          According to the Mail today:

          “‘Mr Gove had confirmed the Sunday Times report that the PM had not attended five meetings of the key Government committee Cobra in the run-up to the crisis, but insisted this was not unusual”

          Who tipped the S Times off? After all Gove stabbed Boris in the back in 2016. I fear the knives are out again.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      So RichardM was Nicola Sturgeon in all of these Cobra meetings? If so did Scotland do all the things in their devolved health service that you believe Public Health England should have done? Was the head of PHE in,these meetings did that person have the autonomy to order PPE? Boris needs to explain to his critics today why he didn’t attend, he can pen this response instead of tv podcast, dictated to a typist if necessary.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Government on a long term awayday……

    • rose
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      This is what the WHO advised mid January:

      “Disease outbreak news : Update

      12 January 2020

      On 11 and 12 January 2020, WHO received further detailed information from the National Health Commission about the outbreak.

      WHO is reassured of the quality of the ongoing investigations and the response measures implemented in Wuhan, and the commitment to share information regularly.

      The evidence is highly suggestive that the outbreak is associated with exposures in one seafood market in Wuhan. The market was closed on 1 January 2020. At this stage, there is no infection among healthcare workers, and no clear evidence of human to human transmission. The Chinese authorities continue their work of intensive surveillance and follow up measures, as well as further epidemiological investigations.

      Among the 41 confirmed cases, there has been one death. This death occurred in a patient with serious underlying medical conditions.”

      COBRA is just a meeting in a room – Cabinet Office board Room A. There doesn’t have to be a PM, a Field Marshall, an Admiral, and a Top Spook in the room at every meeting. The PM didn’t skip 5 meetings: they were meetings chaired by the relevant Secretary of State who then reported to the PM who then took the decision.

      No-one knew just how unreliable the WHO was then. I bet you didn’t.

      Scientific advice was taken all along. One scientist failed to get his dissent through because of failing technology of his own.

      No-one has been more energetic and driven than this government, first with the floods, and now with this.

      This is just the Brexit war continuing by other means.

      • rose
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        PS can you imagine the uproar if the PM had embargoed medical supplies bound for China in January and February? They didn’t come from the NHS stockpile. Italy sent medical supplies to China and now finds them coming back to her, used. Has the Italian government incurred the wrath of the Sunday Fake News? And what is the lie on the front page about the schools going back in 3 weeks all about?

        • rose
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

          WHO didn’t declare this outbreak of the Wuhan virus as a pandemic till March.

          • hefner
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

            Rose, you are absolutely right in terms of semantics. The word pandemic did not appear in an official WHO communique before the 11th March. But the same WHO had issued an international ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ on 31st January. And any Health Minister (or civil servant at the Ministry of Health) would/should have known that such a PHEIC relates to ‘an extraordinary event constituting a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease’. So maybe not something that individuals in the street might have registered but certainly something that ‘people in charge’ should have been aware of.
            Then between 31/01 and 23/03 seven weeks ran including a number of public events like the Cheltenham Festival (250,000 attendees).

          • Anonymous
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

            Great comments Rose.

  24. Christine
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    These are vital questions but you won’t receive any sensible answers. Just waffle – same old, same old.
    In the meantime the economy is tanking and life has ground to a halt. But who cares eh, as long as the NHS is ‘protected’?

    • peter soakel
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      I keep saying this, but nobody is listening;- ‘If you remove the tax base you ain’t gonna have anything let alone an NHS’! – Have a great Sunday)

  25. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Hooray! At last someone is targeting the right people! Magic Nawaz on LBC did it yesterday. The Qangos are the real targets, not the politicians. The mismanagement is staggering. I would love to go in for a piece of minor surgery, but I cannot even see my GP! As for dental treatment…

    A fair comparison would be Tescos where, yesterday at 7.50 p.m. a polite and smiling man brought our 8.00 p.m. delivery with all the right stuff and a correct bill. The store is organised. Tescos is our big unit here, but all the others – all the others – are working just as well.

    Shame on the people taking massive salaries for total incompetence!

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      I see there are calls from some teachers that they don’t want to go back to work until September, or later, until there is no risk of catching the virus. Based on the private sector then shouldn’t they now be furloughed on reduced pay ?

      • Caterpillar
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Although there are others who want to go back and think assessments shouldn’t have been cancelled. I suspect any large workforce has a range of opinions, and about 1/3 who want to get on.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      One problem with that last line Mike – they don’t do shame.

    • peter soakel
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      How is it that those who are ‘authorities’ within national health services seem to possess no empathy, the most important characteristic demanded of those positions? Are they psychopaths or plainly avaricious? I wonder)

    Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The prism of politics is the only optical device one now needs to view and understand the actions of all State delivered services.

    The NHS is a political entity. It acts politically and it owes its loyalty to Marxist Labour. If it can act to politically damage a Tory government or indeed any Tory MP, it will to the point that they will organise to do harm to those threaten reform

    Indeed, the NHS has become a highly successful political operator to the point where they now control the policy direction of a Tory government and now control the actions of a Tory PM

    There are those who describe Johnson has a ‘red Tory’ but he’s much more toxic than that. He’s an unprincipled ‘red Tory’ and that’s an even worse prospect that a Marxist.

    He’ll bankrupt this nation to protect the interests of the Tory party.

    And I refuse to be tarnished by State propaganda being pumped out by the NHS, the BBC, this government and their lackeys.

    The NHS is not the beating heart of our nation, the private sector is the beating heart of the NHS. Someone needs to tell this leftist, pro-Labour organisation who finances its political activities

    As an aside. It was nice to see a BBC broadcast last week about Antonio Gramsci. Most Brits wouldn’t have a clue who this reprobate is but then that probably explains why most Brits continue to vote for parties that promote this vile form of politics

    • ukretired123
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Interesting viewpoint.
      The NHS has become a monster mega money pit black hole and needs drastic surgery starting at the top.
      Its systems are designed like a 1948 sausage factory where folks go in, are processed through different Depts and come out the other end hopefully. But modern medicine should be based around the individual esp in the digital age.

      French Hospitals give you your records x-ray photos when you leave so you can keep them with you unlike the monopoly NHS here.

      Time to get smarter systems and a bit of competition as it is not working without massive ££££££ billions to keep it alive!

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      I understand that the NHS/government have effectively put the private hospitals out of action as they bought at cost price the use of all the rooms. Is this accurate, Sir John? If so, this has very significant ramifications for health care provision which would normally take the strain off the NHS.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Dominic I’m afraid people only learn the hard way. When there is no money they might think about where the wealth is created that they daily consume. Not until then.

      It is literally madness for the politicians to align themselves with the lies, hysteria, emotionalism, forecasts ranging between 500,000 and 5,700 CV19 deaths etc etc etc. (According to ONS and NHS the real number is 1,500 CV19 deaths, ‘1 in 10 of those who possibly died with CV19). It is desperately sad that the politicians in Government have obviously not had the wherewithal to pose the sort of Questions posed by our Host, from the beginning. They would have wrinkled out the truth and put an end to the scam before it started.

      If they concoct some ‘vaccine’ to save face which is ‘the price’ of being let out of house arrest, I will NEVER leave home. Would you trust this bunch of clowns NOT to vaccinate us with something disastrous?

      The snowflakes are hoping we are ‘kinder’ in the new world. Wait until there is 1 potato on the table. Then we will see the ‘choose love’ brigade at each other’s throats.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Indeed. COVID-19 has become a political revolution. “We now know who the key workers are so pay them more money.”

      No. The *key workers* go unmentioned and are trapped at home trying to sort out furlough money for their employees in telephone queues to banks, before they can even attend to their mortgage payments.

      There isn’t going to be any money.

      Bankrupted private sector = bankrupted NHS + bankrupted public services = Death not by COVID-19 (And lots of it.)

      I have not heard a single virologist mention this simple equation, much less try to attach to it any wild estimates as they have with COVID-19.

      I really think we’re finished. The Marxists have won.

    • Mark
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Presumably the BBC were making Gramsci out to be a great man, whose teachings they follow.

  27. Andrew Waterhouse
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Has anyone seen or heard from Sir Simon Stevens during this crisis? As CEO I expect him to front up on news programmes not politicians who’s only job really is to ensure funding for the NHS is in place.

  28. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I would like to know why we have continued to allow daily flights from all around the world, including the virus hot spots, apparently without passenger checks or enforced quarantine of arrivees. Remember when this first began people were transported to somewhere on the Wirral and kept in isolation there for 14 days. Since then the virus has spread more around the world and yet we, a small island, have left the door open to reinfection from anywhere outside our borders. In addition we read of illegal migrants crossing the channel almost every day. I read that the epidemiologists supported this relaxed approach to not banning entries which makes me question their other pronouncements.

  29. Iain Gill
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    yes converting hotels was the preferable way to do it. indeed the Americans had a simple blueprint for doing it that we could easily have copied.

    even if youre going to use an exhibition space the individual bed units could have been put within individual small tents per bed space as the Americans have done.

    the NHS open plan approach is terrible.

    the other obvious question to the NHS is why are they persisting with phlebotomy clinics in most towns? sending all the walking sick in town to one room to queue for hours to get a blood test is madness, coughing and sneezing on each other. it always was a stupid idea done for mad NHS fake accounting reasons (not wanting to pay GP’s to take blood) but now in a pandemic it is murdering people it is that bad.

    then of course what about all those NHS procurement managers, the people paid to plan for contingencies, the supply chain people, they and their subcontractors being exposed for how bad they are.

  30. GilesB
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    It wouldn’t make sense to have enough idle capacity in the NHS to cope with a once a century pandemic.

    But the NHS obviously should have sufficient capacity for the winter peak at least eighteen years out of twenty. The fact that EVERY winter there are patients in corridors shows that NHS governance is unfit for purpose and needs to be redesigned – however much they are fed up with reorganisations.

  31. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Hire hospitals with separate bedrooms? – they are for the illegals ferried in from Calais. 73 the other day – 470 attempts to get here in the last 4 weeks. The bill goes up and up. Wait till those who managed to get here get their families here as well. But we’ll be OK – Priti has made a promise – presumably just like a Mr Cameron did.

  32. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    The reputation of the “British Bobby” is in tatters now isn’t it?

    • Fred H
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      it hasn’t been great for many years, so get them to do form filling, better off the beat or poodling around in panda cars rather than look silly in front of the beak ‘case dismissed!’

  33. Richard1
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Whisper it, but each way you look out centrally planned too down and statist health system seems to produce worse outcomes than systems in countries which are mixed. Not because decision makers are foolish or ill-intentioned. Although there does seem to be an in-built suspicion of private sector actors which has been a liability for us.

    When this is all over we should have a comparison of different health models to see whether we might be able to make improvements. Conducted by some credible and preferably international figure so the whole exercise isn’t immediately undermined by leftist shrieks about ‘privatising the NHS’.

  34. Caterpillar
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    The Health and Social Care Select Committee needs to sit immediately and address the questions to the appropriate managers.

    I would add the question,

    What changes to arrangements will be made as the number of admissions and deaths reduce?

    (If UK epidemic continues to follow shape of Spain, then in 12 days the UK daily death rate will be at 60% of current, so NHS should have normalisation plan in place now. Of course each country’s epidemic is different but UK supposedly has modellers, so should have updated projections, even if hoi polloi are not allowed to know.)

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Also, as I have alluded to before, where is the nosocomial infection data?

  35. Edwardm
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    JR’s points seem good sense to me. Will be interested in the answers from the NHS if any.

  36. Ed M
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    V good questions

  37. Andy
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Of course the main questions are for government.

    The Sunday Times devastating investigation today outlines the significant failings.

    A prime minister asleep on the job.

    Despite a pandemic being considered our greatest threat, services were decimated by Tory austerity.

    An obsession in government with Brexit – and all logistical expertise focussed on that.

    Competent governments have struggled with this crisis. But it is already clear that, along with the Americans, we have perhaps the least competent government in the western world.

    The Tory Brexiteers have snipped from the sidelines for decades about how bad everyone else is at running things – and how their way would be best. Oh how spectacularly wrong you all are.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      They followed the advice given to them by the expert scientific advisors.

      Services were not decimated you are being silly.

      All logistical expertise was not diverted onto Brexit again you are being silly.

      The same people are in the government and in the civil service and in quango land and in the NHS and in PHE as they were pre 2016.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Well, , who would you like to be running the Country, Andy.?

      Give us the benefit of your superior knowledge and experience.

      • Andy
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        Who would I like to be running the country?

        Jacinda Ardern. She comes out of this best of any western leader – by far.

        Failing that Angela Merkel. Cool, calm and classy.

        Of the current crop of British politicians – Nicola Sturgeon.

        Among MPs – such a poor choice. There is a complete dearth of talent in Westminster. I can’t think of any that would be any good. Certainly nobody in the current Cabinet is prime ministerial material. Including Johnson.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink


    • rose
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      How could you have forgotten the floods?

    • ukretired123
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Nothing positive to say as usual just your normal daily rant.
      The sun is shining here but you seem to perpetually live in a hermit stone-age cave!
      You need to get out more…

    • M Davis
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Fake news, Andy!

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      On our part the NHS was keeping a heck of a lot of old people alive into their nineties and hundreds and indulging an obesity ‘epidemic’ when COVID-19 hit.

      A success story and a well funded one at that.

      Stop knocking your own country for once !

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        BTW. Until this you never said “a pandemic is our greatest threat” once. Not once in all of your years of verbosity on this site.

        Not once did you mention it. Not even when it was in Italy did you mention it. Not even six weeks ago did you mention it.

        Stop talking bollocks.

  38. ChrisS
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    We need to be told what exactly is going on in the Health Service. There has been silence on bed occupancy rates, routine operations and much else.

    Anecdotal evidence gleaned by my own experience and from friends is obviously only valid for the areas in which we live but it would appear that many A & E departments are almost empty, appointments at GP surgeries have fallen off a cliff and in my own case, I went for a routine blood test, only to find I was alone in the surgery waiting room and the nurse had only one other appointment that morning, an hour after my own. Patients were not constantly ringing in as usual, either.

    On Radio 4 this week I heard a senior NHS intensive care consultant say that in Glasgow they had increased their acute care bed count to 30 from 12 and not all of these beds were occupied. Presumably the Nightingale hospital they were building there was fully staffed but empty.

    What is happening at the huge and expensive new facility at Excel in Docklands ?

    It might be regarded as blasphemy to say this, but I suspect that, while those dealing with seriously ill virus victims in intensive care are fully occupied and doing a great job, large parts of the holier-than-thou NHS are actually far less busy than normal and many staff probably have time on their hands. In many areas, maintaining social separation might not be as difficult as one may imagine.

    It would be interesting to know the truth.

  39. McBryde
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    “How do they keep enough non emergency surgery and treatment going when the general hospitals are so preoccupied with virus cases?”

    I have a friend who is a surgeon and has been despatched to a vent ward (in the north west). She tells me that the people who are dying are those who aren’t receiving medical care for other ailments. She says the vent ward is quiet.

  40. Ian @Barkham
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    Lets all be honest about this. This is a deadly highly contagious virus that no on has seen before and no one knows its next move. The virus has already mutated into 3 different strains. The UK version is different to the US version. People that have had it subsequently have been shown to get it again, there appears to be no immunity.

    The UK Governments downfall is we as their employers are not permitted to know what they are doing. Each daily briefing is a presentation of how another committee will be formed, as part of a new tasks a new direction. Some 2 months in none of these tasks forces have furnished the goods to move us on. Each day the Government demonstrates its intent by denying the UK’s own ability to respond, preferring like minded monolithic socialist dictatorships for hand outs. Surely the UK deserves better than this.

    The Government keeps hiding behind the phrase they will be lead by their advisors and the science. Yet no one is permitted to know who the advisors are and no one voted them to take responsibility for our lives. The so-called science clearly just doesn’t exist so why pretend there is such a thing. It cant exist we have never been here before. They appear to know someone somewhere that can make guesses, they hand them a lot of our money and nothing happens once more. Clearly if theses guesses were any good the same people would be playing the lottery each week and winning the jackpot each time.

    What this Government has failed to recognize is they were elected to provide direction for a safe, secure and prosperous future for all.

    We are not safe, we are not secure and we are going broke fast, and our elected representatives are demonstrating that once past the daily PR proper gander they don’t have a single idea.

  41. a-tracy
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Our District hospitals don’t seem to have treated many patients if the numbers are correct online. We are told two local private hospitals have been full requisitioned by the NHS how many operations/treatments have they provided in the last month?

    I know a man who has one eye, he lost one eye due to a tumour many years ago, he has a cataract on the remaining eye, operation cancelled and now the eye has completely clouded over and he had a number of days almost blind and home alone unable to read the labels on his medication. Taken into an empty A&E where he saw the top eye consultant unable to operate due to current policy, now he is in more danger from two different untested carers having to go into his home every day.

  42. Christine
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Questions I’d be asking:

    1) Why did this virus spread around the World but not the rest of China? They are either lying or have a vaccine.

    2) Why are we not doing large numbers autopsies to identify other areas of damage to the body this virus is causing? Interesting findings from the USA on the couple of autopsies they have carried out. What are the long term health issues for those who have recovered from this virus?

    3) Viral load is a key issue. Why put thousands of people together in large wards? Surely this is the last thing we should be doing.

    4) Why are the police being allowed to behave in such a heavy-handed manner but encourage people to congregate on bridges and outside hospitals to clap the NHS?

    5) Garden centres should be allowed to open. This has a therapeutic benefit to many people and can be managed with social distancing.

    6) Building merchants should be allowed to open. Many self-employed workers can safely work doing outside jobs.

    7) Masks are key to stopping the spread and have been proved to work in many countries. Are the Government dismissing their benefit because of PPE shortages? In Spain they are being given out to anyone over the age of 65.

    8) Why are we not given data on the demographics of this virus? What age groups are getting complications? Do they have other underlying conditions? The press jump on the rare cases but don’t publish overall data.

    9) Why aren’t teachers carrying on with lessons online? An appeal to the public for old laptops would result in hundreds of thousands of items. I have several sat around that would work perfectly well for online lessons. The education department have been woeful in their response. How much effort would it take to ask our best teachers to produce videos targeting all the key stages rather than the localised piecemeal approach?

    10) Why are thousands of people being allowed to fly to the UK to harvest crops when we have thousands of unemployed people who have applied to do these jobs?

  43. a-tracy
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    By the way can everyone working outside the home get a daily paid bonus from the government? We seem to have found a magic money tree so everyone wants a cut. What a sad state of affairs. People that say the loudest ‘it’s all about protecting the NHS and saving lives’ are the same ones banging on about ‘more money, more free money, where’s our share of the free money’.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Not only the economy but how the economy functions has been broken. Precedents have been set.

  44. Fred H
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    As Alan Johnson, one time Health Minister, says ‘Number One on the Risk Register was always a pandemic’.
    I wonder where it was filed in someone’s lowest drawer in No.10?

    • Fred H
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      and anyone who has written a Risk Register will tell you ‘what is in the highest risk entries, and any mitigating actions’?
      Did we have ‘it may never happen’ against every level of risk?

  45. Tom Rogers
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    When all this hysteria eventually peters out, and Colonel Hancock’s medical junta is stood down, and all the children are put to bed with hot cocoa and a bedtime story about monsters running loose, could those tiny few of us who are adults pause to reflect on the role of experts in all this?

    Are we quite sure we should be allowing experts and other intellectuals to make executive decisions or any sort of decisions at all? There is a reason we tend to marginalise them into universities, which if you think about it, are a modern version of the medieval monastery. Academics are there to guide and advise, not to make decisions. The advice is valuable and important, and the expertise should be respected, but it is very often wrong when it rubs up against the real world, and on no account should these people be treated with reverence and allowed to tell us what to do.

    I will give you an example of academic thick-headedness. A Professor X a psychiatrist and purportedly an expert on the impact of drugs on mental health, hitherto was a supported of legalising cannabis. Now he has altered his views a little in light of the experiment in legalisation going on in some parts of the United States. Now he tells us that he did not realise how powerful the commercial cannabis lobby is. Personally, I am on the fence about the issue, but what I can say is that Professor X must have led a cloistered life if he doesn’t understand that the movement for legalising cannabis has a commercial impetus behind it, and indeed, he has led a cloistered life. Professor Xis an academic and an intellectual, not a man of the world. If he is a psychiatrist, then he is an expert in treating patients who present with psychiatric problems. That is what he should stick to. He is emphatically NOT an expert in deciding policy on cannabis and marijuana, which involves a wider complex of considerations.

    Similarly, a medical doctor in a hospital setting is, to some extent or other, an expert on treating patients who arrive in hospital with medical problems or emergencies. A medical doctor is very well qualified, but he is not qualified to tell me whether and when I should leave the house and what I should be doing when I perambulate about. We keep being told that we must bend the knee to ‘experts’ in epidemiology, medicine, and maths, but infection control is part of public health and involves lots of different considerations, some medical and scientific, others to do with what is possible in practical terms, others to do with economics because economic activity is fundamental to human life, others still concerning the impact of one course or another, which has to be assessed.

    I do not want experts making those decisions. To the greatest extent possible, I want to make those decisions for myself, and if it is absolute necessary to out-source these decisions to some public authority, then it needs to be a balanced and reasonable decision. Even if we assume the very worst, Covid-19 is still an ordinary illness and this government’s response is not balanced and reasonable. To shut down society and place a healthy population under mass arrest is, quite simply, unclassifiable lunacy.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      a bit lengthy but an excellent post Tom.

  46. Ed M
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    What this country needs is more tough and logical thinking like that of Sir John and Lifelogic (whoever he is – I suspect he’s someone important in politics or business – maybe not, but he sure talks a lot of sense about the virus).

    As a traditional Christian (Catholic / Protestant – and very proud – in Christ – of my Protestant part too), can I remind people that Death is not or should not be the ugly word people are making it out to be. We all have to die, it’s how we die that matters, and that includes giving good care to people when they die but not being obsessed either by keeping them alive at any cost – and we can’t forget the living as well, including the young and the economy – it’s heretical to view the economy and money as something necessarily dirty or evil – they can be but not necessarily – just as sex and power and all earthly things can be good or bad, depending on the context). The 13th century Persian poet and philosopher (and founder of the whirling dervishes) described Death as ‘The Wedding Night.’ Although a heretic, Rumi’s ‘The Wedding Night’ brilliantly evokes the language and spirit of our Christian Bible’s Song of Songs. Death is really and ultimately a doorway into true, fulfilled life where one day even this Earth (and England! – not forgetting the traditional Christian virtue of Patriotism!) will be glorified one day (and with it, please God, our bodies too – and united with our souls). This is what traditional Christianity teaches although very few people are aware of that (i don’t mean to sound superior – i just know this, i am neither superior or inferior to others). And of course, Death leads, please God, to Heaven as well. But the glorified Earth is just as important as Heaven – for the glorified Earth (and universe) and Heaven – in God – is God’s ultimate destination for man – again, this is what The traditional Church of England and The Catholic Church (and Orthodox churches of Greece, Eastern Europe and Russia) teach or should teach.

    Lastly, Shakespeare’s The Tempest is a very strange and beautiful and mystical play that I think taps into this glorified Earth that God blessed Shakespeare to glimpse and evoke through his genius poetic language in this play. A glorified Earth that will be full of joy – above all to be with God – and we get a glimpse of this joy with:

    ‘Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
    In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
    There I couch when owls do cry.
    On the bat’s back I do fly
    After summer merrily.
    Merrily, merrily shall I live now
    Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.’

    For God, Queen and Country – God bless England / the UK.

    • Ed M
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      ‘tough and logical thinking’

      – as in tough love

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 2:44 am | Permalink

      I am perfectly happy to die but not quite yet please.

      • Ed M
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        It’s traditional Christianity that says we should live to the full – but die well. Living well and dying well are not mutually exclusive! They compliment each other.

        Also, it’s traditional Christianity that opposes euthanasia and suicide. But that we have to be ready for death. Whether you’re a WW2 spitfire pilot defending your country, whoever.

        • Ed M
          Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

          So having a ‘death wish’ is NOT traditional Christianity. A WW2 spitfire pilot must get into his plane hoping and trying to survive another day but be ready to sacrifice himself for his country / die at same time.

          • Ed M
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

            ‘Lastly, part of me wishes I lived back in WW2 when people believed in God and Patriotism and the Family and Work Ethic’ – well more than now, at least, I’m pretty sure.

          • Margaret Howard
            Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

            Ed M

            “when people believed in God and Patriotism”

            More crimes have been committed in the name of those two creeds than any other I can think of.

  47. ian
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I hear that after bailing out the private hospitals the staff are sitting around looking out windows, 5-year waiting lists coming up.

  48. Helen Smith
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I trust and hope the eventual idea is to make these Nightingale hospitals centres of excellence for CoVid and let ordinary hospitals get back to treating everything else in a timely and safe manner.

  49. ian
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I haven’t seen any daily briefing but what I read about them they no more than propaganda for the Tory party faithful.

  50. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Good questions for the second wave – maybe we can stay open once we get out of lockdown

  51. Lorna
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Very good questions .
    I understand that the Private Hospitals which should have been used for urgent operations and cancer patients are also unused
    This seems time to start taking back General Hospitals especially those with Cancer services and start dealing with backlog of routine operations

  52. Ignoramus
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    What lies at the bottom of the incompetence of NHS officials and political management of the crisis is that there is a lack of leadership amongst those concerned. Sir John’s excellent questions would have been tackled at a board meeting by a major company and if results/answers were not swiftly achieved heads would have rolled. Likewise if the military had been running the crisis. NO LEADERSHIP.

  53. ian terry
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    My question to the senior managers of the NHS is: why have they not asked ministers about the 8000 people arriving in Scotlands airports and none are being tested. A lot of people use Scotland as a hub to come to England. This is being highlighted in the Scottish Herald as a concern.
    What is the point of trying to reduce casualties of the virus when for all intents and purposes areas of our island still have a fully open door no testing policy? Ireland still takes advantage of open door policy to send coach loads of people across the Irish Sea.

    You cannot make this up.

  54. DavidJ
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Pertinent questions which likely highlight the incompetence of Public Health England especially when they refused help from the private healthcare sector. Did they consider such assistance would show them in a bad light?

  55. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    You’re asking all of the right questions but I see no evidence that “senior managers at the top of the NHS” ask willing or able to answer them. The Government has made mistakes but the NHS has been ‘Ethelred the Unready’, for institutional reasons.

    If you wanted to design a health care system that was incapable of dealing with an epidemic, you would make it free at the point of consumption, with no demand management and almost entirely reliant on taxation as its source of revenue. That is the NHS. The NHS system also gives rise to unacceptable waiting times in normal times.

    We spend just under 10% of GDP on health services against the German figure of just over 11%. It seems that both the Government and the public are prepared to lift our % spend to the German one. Whether the public will be prepared to pay extra taxes or see other categories of expenditure cut to make the funds available is open to doubt. I suspect that in 3 years time, when we have increased health expenditure to the German level, we will still have waiting lists (a) because there is no demand management and (b) because we are spending a fortune on geriatric medicine. Then we shall be forced to implement reform.

  56. ian terry
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    The professor on the Marr show talking about a vaccine said there will be difficulties in rolling out the production of the vaccine to meet the demand and some of the problems could arise out of having the necessary expertise available in any one company.

    Take a lesson out of history. This country is virtually on a war footing trying to survive.
    97 years ago the best pilots and crews in bomber command were pulled in to form a special squadron to destroy the German dams. Given the task at hand all relevant companies should be trawled to provide their best people to form a team to make this happen. Upon the successful completion of the mission be returned to their employers. Drastic times creates drastic actions if one wants to survive. The best people might not just be at the top of the top government agencies when it comes to rolling out a new vaccine production and distribution process.

    • MeSET
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      I must say I have wondered why we cannot produce ‘pacamacs’ for our medical people. They were the sort of thing your mum and dad bought if it rained at the seaside on a day trip and they went stinky-plastic with so little use when you got back , stuck folds to rolled fold and it made a sick unsticking sound when you tried to pull it apart.If anyone reads this,of the right age, it will bring back a memory lost not recalled for too many decades. No need to thank me. I’m a genius. You WILL cry!
      We had factories then or the Empire worked properly.

      • robert valence
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        Ah those were the days.
        I remember there was a hit-film about the First World War & German flying aces – “The Blue Max”.

        Kenneth Horne then followed this up on “Round the Horne” with “The Plastic Macs”.
        We don’t get them like that any more……………..!

  57. John McDonald
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John I think you are getting more of a medical view now, and that is much appreciated. I come from a time when the people who ran a Hospital were medically qualified, not Mangers as we know them today.

    Also I think everyone should remember that the Government has no money as such.
    It’s our money in taxes, or our savings, if any, devalued by just printing more money.

  58. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    How many care homes will shut completely? Each death there loses incoming cash for that home. And who would want to move an elderly relative to one reporting deaths from the virus?

  59. ian
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Can you imagine this outbreak happening back in the thirties or even the fifties with the old matrons on the hospitals’ wards in charge and someone bringing in a person with C19 on to her ward, the women would have blown her top and both would have been thrown out of hospital quicker than they came in along with a lecture on how to contain viruses and infection and then put a notice on the main door saying. No C19 or infected persons beyond this point, keep out. Then write a letter to BJ and telling him off as well.

    The old way always works the best, isolate at home till you have places for them to go for treatment, the first priority is, do not to infect your whole health care system for no good reason. What would give to have the old Matrons of the pasted in charge of the hospitals now with everything running like clockwork?
    Well trained in infection and viruses and containment and calling army field hospitals to be set up till something better can be put in place.

    • SM
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Please do not romanticise Matrons – everything in the NHS of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s was not brilliant by any means.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        well I and members of my family and friends had reason to visit several hospitals in the 60s and 70s – including children breaking arms, investigations, childbirth etc. A&E was never remotely like it appears to be now – hours of waiting, drunkeness, abuse, violence and thats just to the staff… Romantic no, but rather more efficient and facing fewer problems it seems than now.

  60. John Brown
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    The MSM, and hence the government, are completely ignoring the fact that this virus is really only fatal for older people and/or for those with certain underlying health issues.

    We continually see graphs of total numbers of deaths but never one of how these deaths are divided over the age groups.

    For those people below 50 and with no underlying health issues the lockdown should end.

    Everyone else should remain isolated for the present.

    • Dunc.
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Yup. But its not politically expedient to say so.
      If they admitted that then the whole policy looks like insanity from the start.
      1600 die every day anyway. And no one cares if they arent related to those unfortunates. Latest research also points to pressure ventilation killing more than it helps , as dogma has prevented clinicians from treating actual symptoms and not those they were told to expect.Hence greater than 50% ventilator deaths .

    • Chris Dark
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Very judgemental. Why 50? What’s wrong with the healthy 60’s? Lump them all together with the genuinely sick? Have you any idea of the mental stresses these people are going through, they are not all ill or indeed lacking in fitness, just have the misfortune to be 60+. Real sick, genuinely poorly people 70+ already know they are “at risk”, but come off it, you’re condemning a huge sector of the population to a prison without bars for an indefinite period. Even criminals know how long their sentence is. Let them live, life has risks and always has had.

      • John Brown
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        The reason I have selected 50 rather than 60 is because the death rate for those in their 60s is nearly four times that of people in their 50s (which is itself double for those in their 40s).

        I see the idea of an age limit as a temporary measure in order to be able to relax the lockdown in a controlled way so that the NHS can cope with any possible extra infected cases. If the NHS can be shown to cope then the age limit will rise.

        However, I take your point that underlying health issues are just as important, if not more important than age, and the relaxation of lockdown could be determined instead by health instead of age.

        But I think this is even more difficult to control although I am expecting older people and/or those with health issues to keep themselves isolated even if the government were to cancel the lockdown completely and immediately as you are suggesting.

  61. a-tracy
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m concerned for people waiting cancer diagnosis. 2-3 weeks is one thing a couple of months is too long.

    The figure from care homes ‘Data collected by the NCF, which represents not-for-profit adult social care providers, suggests 4,040 people may have died from Covid-19 in residential and nursing homes up to 13 April but are yet to be included in official figures.’ From approx 30,000 residents, how long is this over, just one month or since February, how many deaths are there usually in this period in care and nursing homes?

    • Zorro
      Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      10,000 per month normally


  62. bill brown
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR

    Very relevant and spot on questions to be asked.

    I just hope that some of the predictions being asked do not come to be reality.

    More than 20.000 dead of the covid-19, due to lateness and bad planning by an unprepared and bad planning government, which lost sight of the covid-19 plague due to other priorities like fighting the Whitehall bureaucracy. (Cummings)

    • Edward2
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Amazing how you Andy and Martin are all on here desperately trying to blame the government for everything.
      Using hindsight and adding your political bias into the mix.
      It’s like knee jerk reaction when you say,
      Anything Tories do is bad
      Anything Cummings does is bad
      Anything the USA does is bad
      Anything the EU or UN does is automatically good.

      The government followed the advice of its scientist expert advisors.

      • bill brown
        Posted April 20, 2020 at 2:11 am | Permalink

        yes and the scientists got it wrong I do not care what colour the government has, if they get it wrong they should stand up and take the criticism.
        I seem to recall your comment that the French had three time as many covid-19 ill per million than the UK. IS it easier to blame the foreigners

        • Edward2
          Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

          I love your self reflection the you do not care what colour the government has.
          I cannot recall any criticism by you on here of the EU nor any criticism of anyone from parties other than the Conservatives.

          My comment regarding the number of French cases was a simple straightforward fact.
          It had no other implication.
          You keep asking me for facts but when you get them you dont like them.
          Very odd

          • bill brown
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

            just because we have not had a Labour government does not mean I would not criticise them so stop this funny hypothesising of which you have no clue

          • Edward2
            Posted April 20, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

            I note you cannot refute my claims bill.

            No example of any post criticising the EU nor the any examples of you criticising the UK government when it was under Labour control for 15 years.

            Plenty of clues thanks bill

          • Margaret Howard
            Posted April 21, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink


            “I cannot recall any criticism by you on here of the EU nor any criticism of anyone from parties other than the Conservatives”


          • Edward2
            Posted April 21, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

            But I didn’t say I dont care what the colour of the Government is I will criticize them regardless….bill brown did.
            And I was simply pointing out that the only comments I have ever read from bill have been anti Conservative pro Labour pro EU.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Bill Brown,

      More than 20000 dead is not due to planning, it is a function of a new virus for which UK does not population immunity together with a vulnerable population – aside from age compare UK BMI profile to Italy and Spain. U.K.’s deaths per capita ‘should’ end up much higher than these healthier populations. If it does not it is neither to be condemned nor celebrated, it is meaningless. What matters is net lives (life years) considering both the virus, the short term displacements and the longterm effects of the economic destruction.

  63. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I am not sure what is on your mind re private rooms. Intensive units have one to one Nursing care with 1/4 hrly observations , many connections to fluids , physiological monitoring, ventilation , excretions and open venous and arterial cannula/ ports to take regular samples of bloods etc.. Would it be possible to have this all at hand in a single room and have the amount of staff to provide such intensive observation . Remember if the analysis machines drugs etc are not immediately accessible, as would be in single rooms, the staff in charge of that patient would need to leave the sight of that person to undertake blood analysis and much more .As it is the Nurse next to the one leaving her space keeps an eye on thing until she returns.

  64. It's working!
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    “The government will make a “balanced judgement” when deciding how to relax the coronavirus lockdown, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has said.”
    A first for the Government

    Mr Gove, who allegedly took seriously illegal classified drugs in his youth ( age 32) and hosted drug parties, who a number of people wonder why he has not been jailed for many years stood on a street and indicated we should all stay in our homes and not come out.

    No one is coming out in my location and everyone in the streets homes I can see from my window are clapping with the nation.Every day. All day. So are their dogs and cats.There are steamed up closed windows too showing everyone is at home and having a good time.
    It’s working!

    • Mark
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      I looked at the most recent (and historically revised) data on new cases from the PHE dashboard. Since it is obvious that there are reporting artefacts over weekends, I then constructed a seven day centred moving average of the daily data for England. This produces a smooth humped curve, peaking on 4th April. Given that the data report the date of sampling for positive tests, it implies that infections actually peaked a few days beforehand, around the end of March (that allows for 5 asymptomatic days) – and just a week after the lockdown was imposed.

      The data show that the lockdown worked to break the infection chain, and that we are now on the downslope for infections, with current levels being about 60% of the peak. Deaths will follow lower quite soon if we allow for up to three weeks between admission and deaths. Already the numbers of cases occupying beds is falling as those who recover leave hospital.

  65. Edward2
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    They followed the advice given to them by the expert scientific advisors.

    Services were not decimated you are being silly.

    All logistical expertise was not diverted onto Brexit again you are being silly.

    The same people are in the government and in the civil service and in quango land and in the NHS and in PHE as they were pre 2016.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Duplicated comment from earlier.

      • bill brown
        Posted April 21, 2020 at 2:05 am | Permalink

        Edward 2

        I am in the lucky situation I do not have to prove anything to you but thanks for giving me the chance

  66. ian
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Still can’t understand why the government and PHE are not giving out the right messages to the public.

    Take your greens and vitamins of A, C and D everyday, aerobic exercise for 20 minutes twice a day and cut down your sugar intake and do breathing exercises to keep blood cells oxygenated if you can not exercise. How to do breathing exercises should put out on national tv.

  67. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    From another site
    “The Government had estimated that some 3.8 million European Union citizens would apply for the post-Brexit settlement scheme, but that number is likely far higher, according to the Migration Observatory report.
    The report found that 155 per cent of the believed number of Bulgarians residing in the country have applied for the settlement scheme, 119 per cent of the number of Romanians, 115 per cent of the number of Italians, 111 per cent of the number of Spanianrs, 107 per cent the number of Hungarians, and 103 per cent of the number of Slovakians.”

    Presumably ALL will want benefits, taxpayer funded housing, Schooling – but NOT work.

    What is this down to – -bad govt – or blatant “multi ID” fraud applications by foreigners bleeding our taxes?

  68. David Brown
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    They occur everywhere and have existed longer than normal DNA evolution. Ever since the first molecules were able to replicate they have been there – but always dependent on a host to complete their life cycle.
    Living they certainly are and the most numerous and successful forms of life ever!
    They evolve far faster than life most of their genes are new or unknown to science and have properties and functions which normal genes don’t. This is remarkable source of variation.
    Viruses reproduce by manipulating their hosts genetic machinery Being so small there is no part they cannot reach.
    In respect to Covid 19 a vaccine to kill the virus is probably some way off. Look at the common cold or HIV virus.
    In my humble opinion the focus in science should be on managing the virus eg drugs that ensure the human lungs dont become inflamed as this is a major cause of death. Seeking ways to lock up the virus so it does no harm.
    Herd immunity is at best short term because like the common cold the virus will mutate its a master at this for millions of years.
    A science break through for a drug in the form of pill or annual injection is the most urgent requirement to either prevent vital human organs being defenseless, or a drug that locks up the virus. Then most people can easily live with Covid 19 and it with us.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      David Brown,

      Reports are that it is not mutating anywhere near as fast as common cold or HIV (at least at the moment). Looks more similar to COV-SARS-1 in which antibody protection seemed to last 2 or 3 years. Clearly not known yet as quantitative antibody studies have not been underway for long, but there is no obvious reason to think some period of immunity will exist.

      Nonetheless I agree with drugs for prophylactic effect (to which I think you are referring) not just cure. Obviously in UK a health rather than illness model would help.

  69. Fred H
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    When this is ‘sort of over’ – high streets silent, >5m unemployed, SME decimated, Government income collapsed, everybody wearing masks all the time, living with serious health issues but refusing hospital appointments, GPs off with stress at levels never seen before, a real dystopia…. how will NHS management, senior Civil servants, Government survive?
    Beats me! Who could hold their head up and truly say ‘ not me guv, the Boss ignored everything I told him/her’.

  70. Rhoddas
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    It’s about time HMG sorted out the incoming flights.
    We’re on lockdown but anyone can come here, joke. No testing, no quarantine.

  71. L Jones
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    We don’t know, Sir J. You tell us.
    You’re closer to the centre of the action.

  72. peter soakel
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Excellent thread. I am still waiting for Prof. Ferguson’s ‘C’ code upon which the modelling was derived to be preented. What is the hold-up, do they have to be ‘adjusted’ and ‘simplified’ for us plebs to understand? We have already paid for it so WHERE IS IT?

  73. J Butties
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Back along on this subject you allowed my post.
    To repeat and summarise “This is a Farce”.
    As per my previous post this should get through ‘moderation’ with no problem.
    If it does not please ask the moderators to let me know why.
    Your questions have been asked over and over on the WWW.
    It will be interesting to see if you are able to post any replies that you may receive.
    Keep up the good work.

  74. MeSET
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Trump has just finished his Task Force on the Virus Press Conference.
    Great emphasis throughout on “supply chains” . Something Brexiteers have noted. A country needs to produce as much as possible internally in all goods. He mentioned the problem a nation faces if overseas sources dry up. Trump in the US context exampled cars, “how can you build a car if most of the parts come from somewhere else and there is a disruption?” More specifically in goods needed for hospitals, hospital gowns. He says the USA now has a great excess of ventilators and they are still being produced in even higher numbers per day and he is sending some to other countries. I believe the most sophisticated ones cost $50,000, “more than a car” he said in a previous Conference. The Clown News Network(CNN) or as I may call them the ‘US Democratic Party at ploy’ were their usual disruptive selves as was CBS. Both representatives shouting an interrupting like dogs with nits and worms on a hot day.

    Brexiteers have been called Little Englanders by Remainers. No we are Big. It is to be hoped the Labour party and all Opposition parties have got the message about supply chains and being dependent on a Europe that when it goes down goes down at the same time often with weather but also with eggs, mutton, pork, beef, corn, and now the full monty with every conceivable good relating to health care. It could have been worse. The bacon I cannot find in the supermarket may have been absent also because of some virus affecting pigs in Europe. If we run short of a product we should have more than one reason.
    That’s reasonable. Broadly speaking Catweazel of Labour and Billy Bunter of the SNP should be told to shut it about American food being poisonous. We are fed up of their racism.

  75. Trumpeteer
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Today’s White House Virus Task Force Press Conference

  76. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    The purpose of the lockdown was to stop the NHS being overwhelmed. It has succeeded. The purpose of the lockdown, here and in Germany and everywhere else,was not to prevent deaths but rather to postpone them. For that reason any discussion on which country has done “better” cannot be made for 1-2 years until it has run its course – many experts suggest that at that point everyone will have done about the same. We have to wait and see.

  77. a-tracy
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Is the Conservative Cabinet mostly in isolation? Marr: Reeves (Labour), Sturgeon (SNP), no Conservative – why are they hiding? Do they get invited to go on these programs and decline or do they not get invited?

    You Conservatives are losing this media war. You aren’t representing the people who put you in power. I’ve just wasted an hour of my life listening to that drivel about Nicola’s plan to protect the Scottish and diverge from the U.K. if she chooses! And plans to track us all through our phones which just sounds utterly horrific, so someone whose Garden I walk past has a confirmed case of Covid 19mand then I have to self-isolate for two weeks untested just in case because the phone can’t see they’re inside their house! Why aren’t these Covid 19 people isolated in Nightingale hospitals for a week, for god sake get a blimin grip.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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