Rescuing the health sector

The last figures for UK output and incomes from the ONS take us to end May. They revealed an 18.9% drop in service activity in the 3 months to end May. Unsurprisingly  eating and drinking out and the motor trade led the falls, given the lock down impact. Less  predictably the other two sectors the ONS singled out as the main drivers of the collapse were health and education, down 31.4% and 37.8% respectively. Many other private sector service areas had much smaller declines thanks to working from home, using remote technology and identifying key workers to keep the service going.

Getting health and education back to where they were should be a priority now. Ministers have said they want the full range of treatments to be available again on  the NHS, and to see the backlog of delayed operations and treatments being tackled. So far the NHS has struggled to get back to anything like the capacity before the virus. It has also been unable to fill the private hospitals contracted to support it.

It is now policy to either have isolation hospitals for CV 19 or to have isolated and sealed  parts of hospitals to contain CV 19 patients and those helping them. This should enable normal infection control procedures to resume for all the other work the NHS does. Some of the shortfall in  work has been patients reluctant to attend medical centres and hospitals for fear of catching the virus when they already belong to an at risk group. The isolation strategy needs to reassure them.

Remote technology has allowed many private sector services to continue as before, substituting remote communication for the previous client and customer contact that was common. The NHS is learning to use this technology for primary care and for consultations with hospital doctors. Where treatment needs contact in a hospital between staff and patient then the hospitals have expertise in infection  control and the staff must have access to high quality protective clothing and equipment.

The private sector is still willing to offer capacity to the NHS to help with the backlog. This coupled with the extra money made available for CV19, winter pressures and other issues should enable the health sector to recover more quickly.
It is important the government defends the proposition that choice is an important driver of innovation and Quality. Private hospitals can offer good service and extra capacity which the NHS buys into when it needs to.

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  1. Stephen Priest
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    According to the Office of Nation Statistic Covid 19 Death account for only 2.5% of all deaths now.

    We need to end this Lockdown, advise people to continue taking sensible (but not unrealistic) precautions.

    There is no second wave.

    Boris should start getting tough with unions and open schools in September. Saying pub might have to close is a callous attack on struggling businesses by scientists in safe, well paid jobs.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink


      You telling me there are no teachers or parents in pubs ?

      • Hope
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        Rescuing our health service. Two articles by Kathy Gyngell and Will Jones worth a read today to rebut some of the failings of your blog to bring balance and accountability to your useless, incompetent and incoherent govt. Tour govt. made catastrophic mess of the situation, even as it Bernard Ingram makes criticism of it today.

        It is clear the death toll of cancer patients, heart disease will vastly out number those of the exaggerated doom. Ongering Chinese virus. Those family members who care for relatives for MS, Parkinson’s and the like will not forget the suffering your govt caused and is still causing. Still your govt. is intent on destroying the nuclear family when in times like these families prove to be invaluable where the govt. has failed its population. All resources available for those who illegally enter our shores and are given five star hotel treatment rather than detention centres where it can be determined whether they should be allowed to stay or,go not disappear into the Home Office “failed system”. NHS like the Home Office and MOD need to radically reformed, those unwilling need to buck up of shipped out. However, under Johnson perhaps they will be given an extra pension and a title to cause further harm to our nation like his recent list. Not long ago he criticised people being given titles!

        It would be better for all if he and the govt. resigned now.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Teachers have to be supportive of their union leaders, whether they want to be or not, because no one else protects teachers.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink


          So why do the pubs have to close ?

          We already know the schools aren’t closed because of the disease but because of the Unions.

          So why are the scientists now saying “It’s pubs or schools, you can’t have both !” ?

          Too big for their boots in the presence of a weak Prime Minister.

          • glen cullen
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

            for scientists to maintain their grants they have to point the finger at some groups, best yet point the finger at all groups

          • Everhopeful
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

            Boris is employing moral blackmail.

          • Caterpillar
            Posted August 7, 2020 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

            As I have pointed out before the majority of scientists are doing professionalised research, they are not doing science – searching for truth.

            The argument for closing pubs to allow schools to open is that if R is a little less than 1 then the increased contact in both will take R over 1. I do not support this argument, once the scientists recognise trade offs then they should recognise the economy.

            The point about unions and teachers is that many teachers do wish to go back, but they will back their union leaders. Outside of Covid teachers are assumed guilty of everything, it is only their unions that support them. Pupils are violent, pupils traduce their teachers, but the system assumes the teachers are in the wrong. If the Govt wants teachers to be free of the unions then the Govt must support teachers and presume they not pupils are in the right. This needs to be a permanent change.

    • zorro
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      It is pathetic – a ‘trade off’? Is that following the science? It doesn’t merit a mention, this government is absolutely dire. Until Our Dear Leader, The Greater King Cnut, Kim Jong Son apologises for his conduct and that of his government, this country will be cursed and muzzled!


    • Richard
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      95% of those who died from Covid-19 had co-morbidities /pre-existing health issues. Just 301 deaths under 60 with no stated co-morbidities. (England NHS at 1 July)

      And Sheffield & Loughborough Universities issued a joint report revealing that:
      – UK Covid19 death figures are “54% to 63% lower than stated”; and
      – that “lockdown has increased, not decreased, mortality”.

      Who is going to be held accountable for all the deaths caused by the MSM Fear Porn & the House Arrest of Health People?

    • Ed M
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      I disagree.

      I think we should just focus on the economy – getting everyone to work, getting people to buy, eat, drink out etc. And protecting the vulnerable.

      A weak economy will do more damage to our kids than not going to school. A lot more can be done with interactive school learning. I witnessed some myself, albeit from a private school, and the teacher was brilliant. Those kids were really learning, despite being online.

      We can get through this. New treatments are being developed all the time. Herd immunity is increasing. We’re getting closer to a vaccine. Let’s just keep our nerve, focus on the economy and keeping the vulnerable safe, and then focus more on everything else once the pandemic is over – soon, please God.

      • Ed M
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Btw, whether you like it or not, a certain % of the population are scared of getting and passing on the virus especially to vulnerable family and friends. Whether their fear is justified or not, it’s still there. That’s the reality. And you have to deal with that reality as effectively as possible. And that is to reduce the fear factor by not scaring some people more by kids returning to school etc ..

        Spain had 5K news cases the other day. That’s a serious spike – whatever the reason. We can’t allow that here in the UK. It will really affect our economy.

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 7, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          Well, Spain’s spike wasn’t because of schoolchildren either was it and do you really believe Spain eradicated it because I don’t, if you stop testing before your holiday season then voila it’s gone.

  2. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    I assume the private health insurance companies have been making bumper profits in the last four months. Not having to pay out claims as no procedures have been undertaken but still charging full premiums. The insured have no choice but to pay or lose any prior exemptions they have. Government has been taking its tax take on these company contributions too so everyone wins but the customer.

    IPT on medical insurance should be scrapped in recognition that government has decimated the service delivered. There should also be a holiday on Class 1A contributions and private medical insurance as a taxable benefit in recognition that government has rendered the benefit pretty worthless. If the Chancellor is looking to recoup some of that money I suggest he puts a windfall tax on the private insurance companies profits while there is no service.

    Reply Private hospitals have been working for the NHS for no profit

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: I don’t think you read the comment, or deliberately misunderstood it. Private cover has been rendered worthless whilst the NHS has “occupied” private hospitals. The small guy squeezed between the government and big business.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        what have been the responses to the insured asking for typically swift procedures? Delayed, or excuses like NHS taking up all availability?

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          All treatments suspended, no response to requests from the ‘Health Insurance Company’ or Private hospital of when they will proceed. No rebates or you’ll lose your prior exemptions!!

          The private health insurers are laughing!

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Private hospitals have been available for NHS overflow. But as most procedures were cancelled has they actually been used? The Nightingales certainly weren’t.

      However my point was about private medical insurance companies not facilities.

      Government has once again defecated on the middle class strivers and given nothing back.

      To labour the middle class strive point there is reduced Universal credit paid to anyone with savings of £6K ( or two months outgoings) and no payments to anyone with savings of £16k.

      Maybe I should have a holiday of a lifetime in Spain to spend some money.

    • John E
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Narrow Shoulders has it right.I have been paying out for private health insurance purely to retain my cover for anything that might get categorised as pre existing.

      The government commandeered private healthcare and closed it down. There’s little point in you asking us about it. The drastic drop in activity is directly caused by the government that you support in power. The situation will improve when they stop running a command economy.

  3. Mark B
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    So far the NHS has struggled to get back to anything like the capacity before the virus.

    You mean all that clapping you got people to do was for nothing?!?!

    Another failure to add to the long, long list. Tsk tsk!

    The very fact that the State Sector, in this case the NHS, is behind the curve should come as no surprise. They are a State funded body and see no reason to work towards positive outcomes. Private Healthcare has to adapt if it is to survive. This is why I advocate that Private Hospitals should be allowed to compete for patient care. Don’t just give the bottonless pit that the NHS has become more money, make it work for it. If a patient needs treatment the patient should be given the choice, via their GP if they wish to go NHS or Private. All the government needs do is write the cheque like it did before.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      Well the government in the shape of a government regulated insurance company should write the cheque. Then you have the Swiss system.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Several insurance companies who bid for area tranches and have to take everybody, well or sick, in the area. We are sick of advocating this system. The Insurance company would keep the health providers up to scratch, which is why it is so opposed!

  4. Mick
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Getting health and education back to where they were should be a priority now
    Good luck with that Sir John, my wife who works on the front line of infection control for the NHS and as put her heart and soul into it to help beat Covid 19 is that you are going to have to pull a rabbit out of a hat because she along with a lot of NHS staff feel like they have been shafted by your government, they feel like they’ve been taken for granted again

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      That’s because the BBC et al never ever mention the people who were ordered to shut down their businesses.

      For a long while they were The Forgotten. We’ve only just started hearing about them since the penny dropped about the economic down turn.

      For six months we’ve had “Big Up the NHS and Big Up the key workers” and nothing about those tearing their hair out at home (the very go-getters who hate being cooped up at home) as their businesses were destroyed.

      They’re the ones that have been really taken for granted.

      I’d feel pretty secure if I worked in the NHS.

      Poor Boris. He can’t make anyone happy it seems. Not even those in the most secure work there is nowadays. Millions of people are going to suffer extreme poverty – because small business were the ones being taken for granted.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        simply paying people to sit at home is no way forward. Covid attributed deaths (what part did it play?) are roughly 2% of current death rate. Where were they, what led to the sad death – cultural, care home, lifestyle etc? Are hotspots responsible for the 2%?

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Quite right. The public sector ship sails on regardless. Endless whinging from them whilst they provide second rate services.
        Pensions accruing year on year when in the real world jobs are lost and lives destroyed.
        A choice of 3 socialist parties to vote for.
        Where’s the reform party.

        • JoolsB
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

          Agreed. The party calling themselves Conservative are nothing of the sort but as long as the two main parties have the system stitched up between them with FPTP, not enough of us are willing to take a chance and vote for someone like Nigel Farage, a real Conservative, and any party he leads for fear of putting in Labour. Maybe it’s time we took that chance.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Mick, how has the government shafted a lot of NHS staff precisely?

  5. Adam
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Private hospitals might be better for all. The Govt’s role is that of protecting citizens and supporting those unable to help themselves. If Govt is better at running business than free market operators are it could take over everything.

  6. Nigl
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Brave topic with Lifelogic on the prowl.

    The mixed provision of the German health service allegedly performed far better than ours. Until you have the courage to address that elephant in the room, you will continue to only fiddle around the edges with the world class BS when comparison tables say otherwise.

    Ministers only ever want to hear about the good bits of which there are many, being rhino skinned and deaf to the deficiencies. If they had a business background they would understand spending more does not automatically equate to better outputs especially in the hands of bureaucrats.

    I have seen the extraordinary care first hand of a premi baby born weighing less than 2ibs but equally seen frustrations in trying to get a doctors appointment and personally have suffered for 6 months in almost total bed bound agony waiting for major back surgery that eventually I had to take a large loan out to go private to get relief. Try going to A and E in extreme discomfort and waiting 4 hours.

    The NHS is supposed to save lives. With me I needed 8 trammies a day plus anything else I could get my hand on risking pk addiction plus a ballooning weight. Fortunately all now a memory.

    John Hume died recently a man of extraordinary courage. Such political courage is needed today to sort out the NHS and give us truly the world class service we deserve. Regrettably it seems non existent.

    Ps instead of closing pubs to protect children why not cut down on underage drinking.

    • jerry
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      @Nigl; Your comments only serves to show up the problem UK politics brings to the NHS, the German system is not that different to the NHS, funding being in effect via taxes.

      The difference being that in Germany the govt mandates the purchasing of medical insurance, for adults/families earning over a set amount, whilst also placing a maximum permissible fee upon the insurance providers whilst also preventing the refusal of cover.

      • Nigl
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink


      • forthurst
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        In one sense the German system is entirely different in that the hospitals are not nationally controlled by Arts graduates setting arbitrary performance standards based on no scientific knowledge whatsoever.

        • jerry
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          @forthurst; [German] hospitals are not nationally controlled by Arts graduates setting arbitrary performance standards

          Not sure that is correct, non medically qualified politicos and civil servants still mandate how much money the health service has to spend – ownership of the buildings and equipment is irrelevant.

          • forthurst
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

            Public financing under the control of policos goes into the system.

          • jerry
            Posted August 7, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

            @forthurst; Not sure what you are replying to or even which country you are referring to?!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 8, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

          Maybe the fact that they are ex-public schoolboys, who do not themselves believe in public services is more significant than that they are also arts graduates?

  7. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Where have all of the patients gone who used to fill A&E Departments.?

    I can understand perhaps fewer car accidents, but what of all the other problems, or did they used to be filled up with non urgent cases who could not get a doctors appointment, drunks, the victims of fights or overdoses etc.

    Perhaps a lesson here to be learned by the NHS about A&E admission control, and how it should be allocated/controlled.

    • jerry
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Alan, most of those who used to fill A&E should never have been there in the first place, when often nothing more than basic First Aid was given of the sort any home First Aid kit and some very basic knowledge should have been sufficient. This is what happens when govts allow society to become so risk adverse, compounded by relentless adverts from those ambulance chasing lawyers.

      A&E admission control was always used, that is why the minor and walking wounded often had to wait so long, but A&E managers can not stop little Timmy -with his grazed knee- and doting mother from turning up, demanding a head to toe examination just in case (even more so if the ‘injury’ occurred were compensation might be claimed).

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      “did they used to be filled up with non urgent cases who could not get a doctors appointment,”
      About ten years ago, a Saturday 6pm – my knee gave way – absolute agony and in tears. I chose to drive the 5 mile to the nearest A&E. While waiting, two English men came in and asked to see a doctor – as they were unable to get an appointment at their surgery during the week – and were now going out drinking for the evening.

      Clearly they didn’t understand the meaning of A&E.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Many who attended A&E used it as their local health centre.
      Many not registered with a GP because they shouldn’t be here. Traffic is back to normal so I don’t think that’s a factor.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      I think many use/used/tried to use A&E due to the access failure of the current GP system. At the last GE, the Brexit Party had a policy of introducing 24 hour GP services to relieve A&E.

      In contrast, the current health secretary has solved the problem of access by removing it for everyone and generally scaring people away.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Alan, out of hours services were decimated so people rocked up at A&E, I suspect not many motorbike casualties during the severe lockdown period, fewer cars so less cycling injuries, a big cut in stabbings, a massive reduction in drunken injuries. Really reasons for A&E visits by patients should be investigated.

      Even during lockdown people I know that visited A&E was because their local GP couldn’t see them mid-week afternoon to treat (severe cyst). Lost sight in eye still waiting treatment after two months.

    • David L
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Any service provided apparently “free of charge” will be abused by many people. The missed appointment chart at my local medical centre runs between 100 and 200 a month. Even a token charge each time might reduce the amount of trivial problems found in A&E.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        David L – it has been amusing to watch the dental service once privatised. Because their appointments are often booked a few weeks in advance they text or phone you the afternoon before your morning appointment or in the morning if you have an afternoon appointment to remind you to come in.

        It would be interesting to see if these 100 to 200 spoiled appointments per month are individual people/families or the same people, the reasons why they didn’t turn up, how far in advance was the appointment booked, do they work full time or not? I’ve had enough about clinics whingeing about this, if they were a proper business they’d sort this out.

  8. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    The NHS has had a problem with poor administration for years and from my and my family and friends experience, it has been getting worse for years.

    Full admiration for front line staff, and for most treatment when you eventually get it, but the organisation in general is very poor.

    • Nigl
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink


    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      You can tell from the moment you receive duplicate letters in the post about an appointment that things won’t go well from thereon in.

    • jerry
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      @Alan Jutson; No the NHS has a problem with failed leadership at the top, the DHSC (or what ever it is being called at the time).

      The more administration heavy the NHS has got, at the behest of govts who want to micro-manage, the worse the NHS gets, demolish the management pyramids that have been built over the last 40 or so years – and yes the Blair govt was one of the worst.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 7, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        jerry you can’t always blame the leader if they have an incompetent worker who does lots of minor infractions, then picks up when warned and slips back into old habits, some employees are just useless and dismissing people with more than two years service especially in the public sector seems impossible for them.

        One woman was working in A&E during the pandemic it was very quiet when a friend had misfortune to be sent in. She didn’t log him in to the system, too busy chatting to a nursing colleage to concentrate properly, he was there three hours with people coming in before him and being seen, he thought the consultant he was due to see was late or too busy. He called his wife, she forced him to confront the clerk and she had to admit she’d made a mistake how is this the manager’s fault?

        • jerry
          Posted August 7, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          @a-tracy; “you can’t always blame the leader if they have an incompetent worker”

          Err, but surely if there is an incompetent worker then there is or has been an incompetent manager!

          The manager has either employed the wrong person or has not kept their ears to the ground to the needs of the longer standing employees AND ‘customers’.

          Yes standards slip but that should be dealt with by the manager, of which there are many ‘management tools’, from a quite word through training to formal warnings. The buck always, and always will, stop at the top, after all that is what such people are being paid for, to Manage, to Direct, the clue is in their job titles…

          Many years ago I knew the head of a county ambulance service, he got to hear via the grapevine regulations were being broken on the night-shift, and specifically what the problem was.

          He spent the next 3 months not just doing his daytime desk job, sans one afternoon, when we would go home and kip – why you might ask – because he took it upon himself to turn up on unannounced spot checks during the night at various ambulance stations, if he found any paramedic breaking the rules he sent them home and covered the remainder of their shift, the next day the person was disciplined. He had to discipline a few in the first month, hardly any in the second, non in the third, the grapevine had worked in reverse, work attitudes modified.

          Yes he could have pen-pushed an internal memo out, he would have kept his family life for those 3 months, but he knew the Memo was the wrong course of action, that is what a good manger does.

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 8, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

            Well then perhaps we should look at the Manager of the A&E ward clerks at Leighton Hospital and see why their employees can’t get simple log in of patients right.

  9. Sea Warrior
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    A timely article, Sir John. Matt Hancock, or another minister, now needs to report on progress on getting the NHS back to normal – and he needs to do this weekly, either to the Commons or in one of those set-piece press conferences. We have learned much in this crisis: one of the lessons is that it is far easier to shut a public service down than to re-start it.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 7, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Sorry Sea Warrior but if ever I see Matt Hancock on the news I think oh no is he really the one in charge. The screw up patting his mate on the back in the commons, just seems weak and not in charge. He needs to up his media training then as you say report to us each week instead of letting gossip and rumour to spread about his last minute tweets without other local leaders being fully on board, the reason for those lockdowns explained clearly, the meetings he is specifically trying to stop.

      The number of people now who don’t know what the rules are for having overnight guests from other towns stay overnight, can a family of six or seven from three different households go to a restaurant for a meal together if they’re meeting in their homes I was asked the other day?

  10. Stephen Priest
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Doctor JOHN LEE in the Daily Mail:

    “There were no demands for a national shutdown in Britain in the winter of 2014/15, when more than 28,000 people died from seasonal flu; or during the Hong Kong flu epidemic of 1968, when a million people died worldwide, some 80,000 of them in Britain”

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      “Only” 70,000 have died in the UK THANKS TO the lockdown, without which credible analysis suggests that about 700,000 would have perished.

      • zorro
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Utter nonsense – as you must know infections had peaked before the “lockdown” and were coming down as a result of improved hygiene in the general public and the virus running its course. Peak deaths were on 08/04 so the lockdown had no impact on the death figures. Not one jot of evidence unless you belong to the Alf Garnett school of reasoning…

        The “lockdown”, however, has meant that many thousands who had eminently treatable conditions have died because the National Covid Service would not treat them. Also, as a government report has acknowledged, upwards of 200,000 more people will die because of the lockdown. An unmitigated and unnecessary disaster!


      • zorro
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        Credible analysis from Neil Ferguson!? Like his previous ‘credible’ analysis on historical events which were ridiculously exaggerated! There is no evidence whatsoever that this virus would have affected 80% of the population as he claimed. It was NOT a High Consequence Infectious Disease, and that has been shown by the low percentage of people who have contracted the virus.


        • forthurst
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          Covid-19 is not a HCID because it does not have a high case-fatality rate overall not because it does not spread readily.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        credible evidence being? – oh of course, the number you thought of as you started writing.

      • villaking
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        “Credible analysis”? What credible analysis? Speculative and clearly ludicrous numbers spouted by a man with a proven record of gross exaggeration? If you really believe 700,000 would have died without lockdown then explain why Sweden’s death toll is 5,000 and not over 100,000

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        Didn’t happen in Sweden.

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          bang on – wish we’d followed the Sweden path

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          Sweden isn’t full of people like you.

          But they still have real problems.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        The word ‘credible’ and you don’t fit in the same sentence😂😂 – the fact that internationally exposed fool and imperial college are still in operation to humiliate us further is a true measure of the depravity of the Boris Government.
        No wonder Boris needs an EU trade deal – Only then is he off the hook for the £180 billion he gave them in the WA! An £180 billion incentive for them not to give him one! Who would have a politician negotiate anything at all! Useless is really not the word!

      • Na
        Posted August 8, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        Martin, you and Andy are hilarious.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      In the 2017 to 2018 winter period, there were an estimated 50,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales. ONS

      “However, peaks like these are not unusual – we have seen more than eight peaks during the last 40 years. It is likely that last winter’s increase was due to the predominant strain of flu, the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine and below-average winter temperatures” Nick Stripe ONS

  11. Andy
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    I expect the health sector to receive a boost next year.

    The government has written to drug manufacturers demanding they stockpile medicines for your Brexit. Presumably fearful that lorries carrying medicines will be stuck in Kent lorry parks or in the new M20 lorry queuing system which was installed, and then removed and is now be reinstalled again.

    I suspect ministers are worried that some of these lorries will not have all your new Brexit paperwork which is why they are proposing that hauliers have to apply for a special permit to drive on main roads in Kent. The Kent Access Permit was apparently written on the other side of the Boris bus of lies.

    Anyway, these delays will lead to shortages which will require many elderly Brexit voters to seek alternative treatments because their drugs will run out. They will be politely sent home reminded that they don’t need medicines because the Blitz spirit is sufficient.

    No doubt attempts to replicate chemical and/or aviation and/or nuclear safety measures will not all be successful either – probably with at least one accident to clear up as a result.

    The Brexit boost to the NHS. Wonderful.

    • Nigl
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      Another obsessive reply. Where did our host mention Brexit? You really should let go. Not good for your health.

      • Andy
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        I’ll let go when Brexit is undone. It is bad for my country and my family and we will cheer when we rejoin. Which one day we will.

        In the meantime I will keep pointing out the lies of the Leave campaign and their failure to deliver anything like the terms they promised.

        Got your Kent Access Permit yet? Hauliers will need one.

        • beresford
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          ‘Your country’ being Germany, we presume.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      I am surprised the host of this site indulges your childish assertions. Like we leave the EU and will then have a nuclear accident AS A RESULT!!!!!!!! Just endless twaddle.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 7, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Well, do you seriously think that the probability of any kind of accident is decreased, by the UK’s leaving the regulatory sphere of the European Union – notably its H&S – where the Precautionary Principle is paramount?

        If so, then how, exactly?

    • Richard1
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Goodness how can people not have realised that only in the EU can you get hold of essential drugs? If you live in the USA, Canada, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia etc you may as well be dead if you get ill because of course, those countries aren’t in the EU so there aren’t any drugs. Etc

      • Andy
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        I live in Buckinghamshire. Our local main roads – the A40 and A413 – usually run pretty smoothly. I know a 5 minute journey will, far more often than not, take me 5 minutes. Usually there are not many cars about.

        But when they’re doing roadworks – which sometimes they do – something strange happens. Not many cars suddenly becomes a lot of cars and I can be sat in traffic jams for ages. Sometimes all because a man is cutting the grass verge.

        The EU will still sell us drugs next year as it always has. But it will now require additional paperwork and customs checks to do so. That will inevitably create delays at ports which are not used to dealing with this volume of paperwork – and as with my local roads – small disruptions will soon become very big ones. The government is quietly trying to hide this by building five large lorry to spread out the delay but be in no doubt that there will be an impact on both the price and availability of some goods, including some medicines.

        I think it is all bonkers. But this is what you voted for and when prices go up – which they will – and when some products run out – which they also will – remember you voted for it. This is what a hard border for goods looks like. And you voted to take back control of our borders – presumably to keep out people rather than goods. (Ironically we have always had a hard border for people ….)

        Incidentally, the reason why supplies from the EU to other countries are now straightforward is because they are already used to the trade frictions which you are imposing on us as new. If you know your 5 minute journey will always take you 20 minutes in future you start leaving the extra time, with the adding inconvenience and expense it causes you.

        We’ll eventually settle down here with the longer more bureaucratic Brexit processes you have voted for. Business and consumers will get used to them. But the extra cost and inconvenience you have created will always remain.

        Reply Join the modern world. Trade details are logged on computers before the lorry moves. Export/import forms are quite complex for any movement within the EU customs union including product identifiers and codes, volumes, routes etc. We handle all that friction fine.

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          Andy, when the garage we used closed completely for several months during the lockdown, we found two other garages that were open and continued to keep our fleet operational. We prefer the service and prices from the new garages, they now have all our business.

          The EU need to take care they don’t obstruct too much and this Government need to find other suppliers NOW.

        • Richard1
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          Anyone who was a floating voter in the referendum will be heartened by this desperate nonsense from the likes of you. Of course it will be as easy to get drugs in the UK as it is everywhere else in the world. Most of the worlds major drugs companies aren’t even in the EU.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      But as you know, those same lorry parks will also be piling up food as well. Relieved of its obesity epidemic, the country will enjoy better public health and not need the medicines anyway.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 7, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        The weepy, animal-soppy among the Leave voters will be torn apart, by the thought of all those live animal transportations, with flocks of lambs dying of heat exhaustion in them though.

        It’s a pity that they apparently don’t have the same regard for their fellow humans.

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink


      “The Brexit boost to the NHS. Wonderful.”

      It gets better every day! According to today’s BBC News the government bought 50m face masks which are not fit for purpose.

      Another £252 down the drain.
      In their desperation to avoid buying anything from top class EU companies they went to South Africa!!!!

      Furthermore it adds:

      “It also emerged that the person who originally approached the government about the deal was a government trade adviser who also advises the board of Ayanda.

      But he told the BBC his position played no part in the awarding of the contract”

      Oh really? Another fine mess!

      Reply The government also tried to buy from EU companies but they were unable to meet our orders.

      • graham1946
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Don’t forget, the order we did have was commandeered by our lovely friends, the French for their own use.

        These things may not be up to hospital standard, but as it appears that any old piece of rag will do for a face covering, perhaps the government could either sell them off at cost price to the public or give them away. No doubt they will be stored at further expense until another quango decides they should be destroyed in about 10 years time.

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          Indeed, they should e-bay or Amazon them and make a profit for the NHS.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink


          Your last paragraph sums it up precisely, just sell them to those who just want face coverings to meet the regulations.

          Better than nothing, but not as good as a mask, got to be worth 20 pence each plus postage and packing I would have thought.

          Alternatively give them away to customers at railway stations or airports so they are of some use.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        reply to reply …..Sir John don’t be coy and PC. We know the EU countries and indeed China, did their level best to demand local restriction on all production, and even cancelled prior orders from infection ravaged neighbours. Look after number one was the rapid response.

      • margaret howard
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        So we bought them from a S African company who now proved to be unable to meet our standards. So back to square one and millions down the drain.

        You couldn’t make it up!

        • Fred H
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          S African company claim they met the specification supplied.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 7, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

            So, in which court would it be decided whether they did or not?

            If they were from a European Union supplier, then there would have been no problem, would ther?

        • Jiminyjim
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          Are you suggesting, MH, that it would have been better to have no masks at all, at a time when our so-called friends were refusing to supply? Or perhaps you are so deranged by Brexit that you’re one of those who believes that our government decided not to let the NHS staff have masks, so that they would be killed off. You’re right on one thing – you couldn’t make it up!

          • margaret howard
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink


            “at a time when our so-called friends were refusing to supply…”

            Did we offer to supply our friends with necessary equipment, masks or other essentials?

            We can’t even coordinate a combined strategy with the other members of our union with Wales, Scotland and NIreland all being forced to do their own thing because of the shambolic way Boris and co have handled this pandemic.

            No doubt Nicola Sturgeon will reap the benefit in her campaign for an independent Scotland.

        • forthurst
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          The masks were purchased from Ayanda Capital who specialise in “currency trading, offshore property, private equity and trade financing” as well as the supply of facemasks, obviously. (FT).

    • MWB
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Why don’t you emigrate ? I nelieve there are several rubber dinghies available, discarded in various places along the Kent coast, although you should used an alchohol spray on them before climbing in.

    • RichardP
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Just for the record Operation Stack was introduced on the M20 in 1988. In June 2005 it had been implemented 18 times in the first half of the year.
      Thank you for your concern about queuing trucks in Kent, but we are used to it.
      BREXIT or Remain will make very little difference to the damage done to Kent by EU traffic.
      Now the Government has frightened passengers away from the railway perhaps there might be capacity for some of the trucks to stay on the train until they are closer to their final destination.

      • SM
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        And who knows, maybe one day someone will invent a, well what might it be called, an ‘aeroplane’ – that is, something big and mechanical that flies up in the sky and can carry not only passengers but also freight.

        And perhaps someone else will invent ships that can carry very large metal containers of import/export goods that also can go to other major seaports in the UK rather than messing about with passenger ferries and ro-ro traffic at Dover.

      • Lin Jones
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        ”…Now the Government has frightened passengers away from the railway …”
        Do you think that it may mean an end to the now pointless HS2? That would save a lot of money that could be better used, especially now.

        • beresford
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          Not at all. Clearly if you get to your destination quicker you are less exposed to any residual Covid19 and therefore less likely to contract a serious case. You also spend less time in a stuffy facemask. HS2 to the rescue, hurrah.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 7, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Ports of Normandy wants to establish a combined transport terminal in the port of Cherbourg, in order to increase its importance as a cross-Channel port. Dec 2019

        The UK will find another way, airfreight, shipping, ferries elsewhere to other Countries that aren’t messing around. You know there are a lot of EU trucks coming into the UK every day with imports too, lots of fresh milk and produce that will rot. A trade war would be ridiculous and the UK would adapt.

  12. Nigl
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    I read a letter recently to the DT from a health professional tasked with investigating hospital ‘failures’ lessons to be learnt etc. She said That despite a ‘hospital spokes person says’ they rarely are, with mistakes repeated over and over again.

    Equally I have detailed knowledge of a large NHS trust and it’s eye wateringly inefficiency in billing and collecting money for the private patient work it does. They even know the staff that are ‘useless’ but do nothing about them.

    Until you drive a performance culture (ha ha ha) into it you might as well stay in bed for an hour longer,

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 7, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      In America and Spain and others you give your credit card or your insurance documents before any treatment commences and an agreed charge for treatment, we are pathetic in this regard and must improve because Brits are getting very impatient with this government right now on health, restricting treatments to us and treating the RoW.

  13. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    I struggle to understand the semblance of any strategy in the NHS.

    Of course declaring hospitals as hotbeds of the virus was going to frighten people witless into not going with any other health issues. I thought the idea was to use the Nightingales for this purpose so that hospitals could be virus-free and continue as normal (if not better?).

    Then the NHS deposits patients infected in hospitals back into care homes and the community. It’s as thought the NHS wanted to create more infections to prove how relevant they are.

    Then they close the Nightingales but apparently still can’t deal with other conditions.

    Am I the only one thinking this is completely nuts?

    • jerry
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      @SJS; “Am I the only one thinking this is completely nuts?”

      I’ve corrected your last sentence (above), for how I read your comment! You talk of the ‘Nightingales’ as if every county never mind town or even City had one, they were always built as over-capacity units for certain other hospitals/Trusts, not as isolation hospitals for all Covid cases.

      As for your criticisms of the NHS and the care-home system, well who sets policy, follow the trail of breed crumbs; Individual hospitals … NHS Trusts … PHE/PHS/PHW … DHSC … Cabinet … PM/Downing Street policy unit. Blame lies were the buck stops, just as it would have had Corbyn become PM at the 2017 election.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      No it was of course completely nuts. The Nightingales we clearly more of a PR stunt/distraction they never had any free staff for them. Dumping untested patients into care homes was criminally negligent.

      The only person I know who died of Covid caught it in hospital after going in following a minor stroke and was It is now policy to either have isolation hospitals for CV 19 or to have isolated and sealed parts of hospitals to contain CV 19 patients and those helping them. then discharged (untested) to a care home, then home again then back to hospital and died the next day after finally being tested positive then. How many did he infect over this period I wonder?

      • jerry
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        @LL; “The Nightingales we clearly more of a PR stunt/distraction they never had any free staff for them.”

        Really, I though they were being staffed by MOD trained medical (field) hospital units, was that not the case?

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        I believe the Nightingales were staffed Lifelogic, I heard by people out of the low infected areas and other skilled medics from other services and the private sector? It wouldn’t take much for a serious government Health Minister’s department to clear this up.

  14. Nigl
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Off topic. Hats off to Sunak. The restaurant scheme seems to have truly given the sector a boost. Will you now tell Ministers to p off and stop interfering with rubbish like closing pubs, tell me how does the virus travel hundreds of yards through the atmosphere.

    We see another failure in tracking people coming back from Spain allegedly into 10 day isolation. For ****** sake stop making us suffer for your mistakes.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      I’d love to read chapter and verse on track and trace.
      How much used, how many detected, how many followed up – successfully, or untraceable, what system to ensure isolation was carried out – -report card please – or abandon it as useless.
      World beating? – – you’re ‘aving a laugh!

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        I still can’t get my head around the fact that this government employed 25k people just to do ‘track and trace’ which has failed

        • Fred H
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

          I’ve just read ( TIMES yesterday) the T&T is costing £10bn.

          Mind boggling.

          • glen cullen
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

            £10bn here £10bn there…..its unbelieveable

          • Caterpillar
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

            It is mind boggling. In July it was reported that Sunak’s spend / allocated spend for the epidemic was at £160 billion – this in 3 months. (In comparison HS2 is estimated at 50 to 100 billion from 2009 to 2033 total, complete including the Northern stretches – so a rate of about an HS2 every 6 weeks).

      • forthurst
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        According to his am’s DT:

        “The Test and Trace figures released by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) show that, for cases handled by local health protection teams, 98 per cent of close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 have been reached and asked to self-isolate.

        By contrast, for those cases handled either online or by call centres, 56.1 per cent of close contacts have been reached and asked to self-isolate.”

        What a surprise; no one could have predicted it; well not the no-nothing Arts graduates in government who set up the centralised system which is manifestly ineffective in its ability to reduce transmission.

    • jerry
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      @Nigl; “The restaurant scheme seems to have truly given the sector a boost.”

      Judgement will be in a week or twos time, not just three days, as people of Aberdeen has just realised…

  15. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    Thank you for your efforts with this Blog

    Yes indeed things have changed and adapted. It is Government that needs to change its mind set and in fact get over its self. Top down over arching advice in a given circumstance is good. But, top down micro management and shoving every situation into the same self contained box is the most ineffective form of management.

    The love of the NHS because of the dedicated front line staff has to be applauded. It is how it is managed that is the problem. We need to get back to thinking NHI(National Health Insurance) with that insurance purchasing the best health care available for the circumstances. Yes it is privatizing health, but it is health that is still free to all. It should not be Government owned and run they are not to good at proper formal management, to much Virtual Signaling for that pandering to the agendas of the MsM.

    The PPE situation at the beginning of the out break was an administration problem in the hospitals concerned. Because Government wanted to be ‘seen’ to be doing something they got the blame. This has to be reversed government guides, creates direction but it does not ‘do’. As we know there is so little experience of anything in the members Political Class they will always fail.

    Let the hospital be run by health professions, you could even say bring back Matron.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink


  16. Steven
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    The NHS utterly failed the people of Britain. It’s staff have failed to call out the grossly inflated statistics for the virus, failed to provide normal care, failed to provide criticial care and pushed what is effectively euthanasia on old people. It has gone along with the media and governments attempts to turn it’s staff into heroes when they are, in many cases, very far from that.
    It has proved to be a case study of government provided “services”.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      the whole senior structure needs replacing. Trim down the numerous bodies which cause complexity providing input to decision making, funding. The country seems to be knee deep in ‘health’ organisations full of academics who reach for wild statistic guesswork presented as science.

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Your points are valid, I’d also suggest the reason there is a lack of doctors in hospitals is because our current doctors are all on academic appointments and scientific panels

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      I agree with this except the “grossly inflated statisticS” for the virus. It is fairly clear to me that the 70,000 excess death were nearly all accelerated by covid. Clearly the people may well have had many other serious conditions but covid contributed. Why else such a large bulge in the excess deaths for these few weeks?

      • Richard1
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        As explained excellently by Prof Karol Sikora, many of these, probably most will be due to the lockdown, not COVID deaths which have clearly been exaggerated. He thinks the actual COVID deaths are 20-30k. There was no political choice but to lock down initially, but the policy has been an error. Leftists can take no comfort from this Though as they were screaming for more (and still are).

        • Zorro
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          According to NHS stats site, those who died of COVID numbers less than 2,000…..


        • Zorro
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          There most definitely was a choice, and Our Dear Leader Kim Jong Son bottled it just as he will bottle our leaving terms with the EU. We should have managed it like Sweden, but far better surveillance of care homes.


          • glen cullen
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

            Wise words Zorro

          • James Bertram
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink


      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        Clear only to you! Why is it clear – on what basis are you ‘clear’?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

          Well the only other likely explantion for the 70K excess death bulge is the argument than thousands died by not getting access to other NHS treatments. This is rather unlikely a few may have but when doctors stop serious operations (in strikes for example) deaths nearly always decline in the short term due to fewer post op complications.

          They then go up when they resume their good works!

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            Apart from the care homes and the fact that people with CV19 were only admitted to hospital when seriously ill (to be killed by the ventilator) the rest are heart attacks, suicide and associated stress related problems. There are no ‘excess deaths’, the death rate is lower than the last 6 years. You helped stoke the frenzy and now will not apologise. You should know exactly why Boris is screaming about a second wave, he can’t face the fact the buggered up Britain for NOTHING!

          • hefner
            Posted August 7, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

            Lynn, What curve of excess deaths, over which period, from which website, are you using to get to that conclusion?
            We should all be told. We should all advertise such a finding. Such a fact should be shouted from the roof tops.

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Well said, Steven. A right shambles, with a lot of dishonesty at the top, to boot – encouraged by our own Death Minister.

  17. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    From the MsM – I wouldn’t if he really said(MsM) this, but it does illustrate the views of most Free Thinkers.

    Britain’s gone from lockdown to la-la-land!

    Grounded in dubious science and cowardly politics, the grievous wounds we have inflicted upon ourselves with the Covid-19 lockdown are becoming more evident every day
    In this crazy world, citizens who thought they lived in a sane, civilised country are treated like imbeciles, unable to make everyday risk assessments for themselves.

    Dr John Lee is a former Professor of Pathology at Hull York Medical School and a recently retired NHS consultant

  18. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    All those hospitals blair had built under PFI will it appears go to waste…

    Too often the NHS relies on box ticking exercises to make it’s statistics look good, without actually achieving much for the patient — The trend towards more telephone surgeries by GP’s and hospitals will mean a further degradation of services after the 2nd wave.

    Should we ever come out of this virus circus, I’m not sure I would trust the current health secretary to plot a course for the NHS, considering his authoritarian attitude to the general public.

  19. jerry
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    OT; Planning regulations must not be trashed, that is not to say planning permission should not be presumed granted at ‘new estate’ level, regulations for example stop developers (or indeed owner/builder [1]) building a property that has insufficient or no off-road parking (important when the govt wants to move towards EVs), the design is not in keeping with that already exists locality, or a property that is to big for the available plot size thus leaving garden for what is meant to be a family house etc.

    The problem with the current planning system is the ability of NIMBYs to complain about the principle of new housing, often doing so from properties that would not have been built themselves had such objections been applied to their own house/estate, rather than on specific aspects of the design proposals.

    [1] such as infill development were an existing garden has been halved

    • Fred H
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Planning grant should state completion of works within 3 years else cancellation, no resubmission for 5 years. That would sort out land banks, and interminable ‘phased’ building becoming endless dirt, dust, noise, road scheme upheaval and distress to the adjacent population.

      • jerry
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        @Fred H; “Planning grant should state completion of works within 3 years”

        Thus enabling the NIMBYs to prevent completion, the first turning of a sod will be greeted by;

        ‘Oh but you can’t grub-up that tree, or you can’t dig there, the Never Known (it existed) Crested Newt might live there, Professor Mr Nobody Knows is sure he spotted one the other day, there’ll need to a full habitat study commissioned’ – that will just happen to take 3 years + 2 days to compete…

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          Italy Genoa build new bridge 2 years after tragic collapse

          It would take the UK 2 years just to organise the first meeting

          • beresford
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

            …and then it would be held up for another ten years by interminable moaning that ‘the road to the bridge goes past my house’ and will completely destroy ancient woodlands and anyway people only want to use the bridge to get between two places quicker.

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            Is Grenfell Tower getting rebuilt or demolished?

        • Fred H
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          childish objections. Crested newts, bats etc all dealt with during planning phase. Should completion of work stray over by 2 days – who is going to uphold a legal challenge?.
          Your objections are daft.
          Find some serious objections, please?

          • jerry
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

            @Fred H; “Find some serious objections, please?”

            If only NIMBYs would…

            The only daft suggestion is yours, Are you seriously suggesting commercial builders should have to complete large schemes that they as yet they have no buyers for, or for that mater perhaps not even the workforce to build even if they do have buyer?

            Your idea would be fine for a 1930s or 1950s style of State backed building program where normal fiscal rules do not apply!

            You scoff at the idea that NIMBYs would use the discovery of certain or specific wildlife as a means to stop a development, it happens already.

          • Fred H
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

            jerry – if a large or small builder commences on building without any buyers (isn’t that pretty well always?) more fool them if they go unsold.

            Building will normally only be stopped if possible human remains are found on digging.
            You appear unmoved that large builders continue the disruption etc for years and years, or obtain PC but put off starting for years and years.

          • jerry
            Posted August 7, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

            @Fred H; So you think all new privately financed properties should have to be sold “Off Plan” in effect, and within 3 years of planning consent.

            Nor would your idea even work, it would just result in developers splitting-up their (outline) planning applications into achievable phases, resulting in a succession of new build permits for consecutive 3 year periods, with consent being easier to obtain on each subsequent applications because president has been increasingly set. Thus the estate grows like topsy and way beyond what would have been permitted had the scheme been applied for in one application!

            As for ‘disruption’, it’s part of daily life, part of living in the real world, not a fairytale. How’s the weather at the bottom of your garden today Fred?

        • Fred H
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

          PC is not normally granted until submissions on qualified investigation for bats, newts etc are produced.

          • jerry
            Posted August 7, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            @Fred H; Wildlife can move, so yes it can be an issue after planning consent, in one local planning approval local to me a condition was set that a wildlife audit be completed prior to the start of actual physical building work and any such works be adjusted, delayed or even halted dependant on what was found by the audit.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      I do NOT want development in my already highly developed back yard.
      Those who have overcrowded this country need to face what they have done head on.
      Let’s build vast affordable housing estates in every leafy shire, in the grounds of palaces and castles ( acre upon acre..get the concrete flowing!)
      Then let’s see who are really the NIMBYs.
      Remember how the tories quashed building in back gardens…a bit too much for their supporters considering who owned huge gardens and where!

  20. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I fear the opportunity will be lost to reform the NHS.
    It’s quite clear that it doesn’t work.
    1 Whilst Zoom consultations are fine in some situations, when the opportunity to examine patients at GP level is lost, so is the detection of important conditions. If this route continues, you need to set up initial consultations with remote GPs who are independent of the local GP, who has in interest in keeping patients away from his surgery.
    2 The whole admin system can be streamlined. Why do I have online accounts which tell me all I need to know about my finances, tax etc., but I can’t access diagnostic info about my health?
    3 If you’re going to have some government-run health business, then let the end providers compete and the government pay them through an insurance-type system where the government tops-up premiums for poorer folk.

  21. John E
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    The NHS took over all the private hospitals in March. There has been no private sector treatment route. Everything is state controlled.

    Reply The private sector is now accepting some private work.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      reply to reply – – don’t expect us to clap.

  22. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I know someone who has had a painful hernia for about 6 months. For months he got nowhere trying to access the NHS. Finally, he does have an appointment for an operation. He has NOT actually seen a doctor yet. He had a phone call from the consultant a couple of weeks ago and offered/suggested that it be a video call but the consultant declined. So much for using technology. He is going in for an operation and, so far, he has not been examined.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      I’m afraid the NHS has become a box ticking, statistic driven entity that has almost forgotten why it is there

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Last time I saw a doctor she had the guidance from NICE on the screen and went through the guidance. She asked me a multiple choice question and followed the directions on the screen. I could have done that myself. She was quite open about what she was doing.

    • jerry
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      @Mike Wilson; “He is going in for an operation and, so far, he has not been examined.”

      Silly question, but how does he a/. know that he has a hernia, b/. know he is to have an operation for a hernia that he may or may not actually have?!

      I suspect he HAS been seen and examined by a doctor, but has yet to be examined by a Consultant (who quite correctly declined a pointless video conversation, were a physical examination is a necessity), your friend has a date and can be further examined closer to the time, even on the day if that is what circumstances dictate.

      • James Bertram
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        Jerry, having a hernia is often as obvious and visible as breaking a bone – you know damn well what you’ve done (particularly if you’ve had them before).

        • jerry
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          James, you missed my point. As I said, I suspect Mike is getting mixed up between GPs and and Consultants. Indeed to get the referral to be seen by a consultant one needs to first “see” a Doctor (or other medical practitioner, say, in the case of maxillo-facial surgery were the referral will be via a dentist), you can’t just refer yourself!

          • Mike Wilson
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

            I am not getting mixed up between a GP and a consultant. The chap in question is both livid and amazed that he has not been seen by any qualified medical practitioner. Our local GP surgery seems to be basically closed. And hernias are quite obvious but can be bloody serious. Before the op he would have liked at least a video consultation but the consultant was not interested.

          • James Bertram
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            Yes, point missed, and apologies. As you say, something not logical there – you would not get an appointment for an operation without first seeing the consultant; and you are unlikely to see a consultant unless referred by a doctor.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        An inguinal hernia is a protrusion of abdominal-cavity contents through the inguinal canal. In most cases it is a very visual groin ‘lump’ that can become very painful, and indeed threatening should blood supply be compromised. I know !

        • jerry
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          Fred, please read my reply to James above…

          • Fred H
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

            then your earlier question ….how does he know ….was indeed a silly question.

          • jerry
            Posted August 7, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

            Yes Fred, it was a ‘silly’ question, borderline sarcasm in fact, hence the exclamation mark…

  23. Everhopeful
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    How much easier if the govt. had not been so arrogant.
    It loves to look to history for words and soundbites but not for procedure.
    The isolation wards should have been ready and waiting.
    Especially since novel corona viruses have been discovered with startling regularity over the past years.

    • jerry
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      @Everhopeful; “[the govt] loves to look to history for words and soundbites but not for procedure. The isolation wards should have been ready and waiting.”

      Oh the irony, you mean like all the isolation hospitals (and in another context) mental health hospitals closed during the last 40 years, also the closing of smaller but distributed hospitals in favour of large single site hospitals.

      Perhaps had successive govts looked more closely at their history books and rather less at their spreadsheets…

      • SM
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Jerry, there was a very strong push from the medical profession to close asylums. What is now needed, I suggest, is more Minor Injury Units that include GP care, which would relieve pressure on A&E units and District General Hospitals rather than a return to cottage hospitals.

        • forthurst
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          The psychiatric profession as distinct from other branches of medicine have no laboratory tests to validate their diagnoses nor have they ever managed to cure a patient of psychiatric illness; this is why some psychiatric patients remain a grave danger to themselves and others whilst receiving ‘care in the community’ as a result of the opinions of psychiatrists. Perhaps the hospitals should have remained and the psychiatric profession abolished.

        • jerry
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          @SM; You have missed the point about the need to have isolation hospitals or many more smaller hospitals, so as to limit any contagion should a drug resistant pathogen (not just Covid-19) become an epidemic. Good old school clinical care has to often been sacrificed for new-age economics.

          I agree with your point regarding more Minor Injury Units (and perhaps even day surgeries units) but would suggest they are part of the GP network, with cross-referrals, together with being open for longer, some even 24hrs.

          You mention the closing of asylums, ‘Care in the Community’ should have been a success but all to often the patient got the Community part but little or no Care, as the front-line was required to make ever more cuts as back offices became top-heavy and needed funding.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Yes..I did mean that.
        Not closed for centralised efficiency..but for land to build on.
        And many cottage hospitals and isolation hospitals were given to the people of wherever by benefactors.
        Swiped by NHS/govt.
        The push to close mental hospitals was not from the medics but from untrue govt propaganda.
        Cottage hospitals fulfilled precisely the function that SM mentions…and more.
        A return to them is not an option…like so much…they are gone!

  24. ChrisS
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I hope that when the review of the performance of the NHS through the pandemic is carried out it will be an honest appraisal and not the kind of sycophantic praise we have seen from politicians.

    No private industry would ever have abandoned its existing customers needing essential services or created conditions where they are too fearful to venture into their premises.
    Why did the NHS not immediately allocate dedicated facilities for virus cases and carry on treating other patients in safe surroundings ?

    The whole health service is too politicised. Ministers should only be responsible for funidng and general direction of policy. Everything else should be the responsibility of NHS managers who alone should be accountable.

    One perfect example is the decision to release untested elderly patients to care homes without being tested for the virus first. We know that thousands of the elderly died as a result of this stupidity but it is politicians who have been blamed for it when the catastrophic decision can only have been made by NHS clinicians and managers.
    As usual. the people responsible have not been identified and no heads have rolled.

    Until those running the NHS are made fully responsible for what it does and the inevitable failures, issues like West Staffordshire and elderly virus victims will continue to happen.

    The division of responsibility between politicians and NHS personnel has to be more clearly defined. Perhaps we should consider a radical solution : transferring the political decision-making on long term NHS policy to a special select committee of Parliament and leave the Secretary of State to negotiate funding between the Treasury and the committee and the Health department confines itself to ensuring that the most senior management in the NHS implement the policy.

  25. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    During early lockdown I was asked to make my annual retinopathy appointment. Expecting a 3-4 week wait I got told Oct 13th??? Then a few week after, a letter informed me that that date had been cancelled “due to unforeseen circumstances”???

    I’m waiting for all those illegals sat in hotels at our expense to sue us for not being able to get all their free treatment – that they have never paid a penny towards. Crazy idea?? – Just wait.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      The inaction on this rib invasion has the smell of a coverup.

      • beresford
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        What inaction? Ships are being detailed to fetch them, fleets of coaches are ready to transfer them across the country, hotels are being commandeered to house them. Too much action by half, unlike France which leaves them to their own devices. Eventually Boris will suggest an amnesty, ostensibly so they can pay taxes but in fact so they can bring their extended families over to join them.

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          I agree beresford this is all agreed and orchestrated by this Government and it won’t be forgotten this time.

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          If the illegal immigrants stole the small boats surely we the UK have a duty, upon their capture by border force, to return them immediately to the French police to find justice…….justice delayed is no justice

        • Fred H
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          The UK paid something like £114m to France to assist in stopping the would be illegal invaders of UK.

          They are probably still falling about laughing at us.

      • beresford
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        Elsewhere an officer of the Immigration Services Union is quoted as saying that the smugglers are telling migrants that the cross-Channel route will be closed at the end of the year when Britain leaves the EU. ‘Of course, it is not true’.

        No cover-up, all in plain sight.

  26. Iain Gill
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    even before Covid our NHS England had long ago stopped offering “a full range of treatments”, they had for example stopped ALL hemorrhoid operations in England by top down dictat. So now we have people walking around dripping blood everywhere they go, unable to hold down a job as nobody wants to hire someone leaving a pool of blood around them, cross infection risk from blood carried illness, some will get bowel cancer which will be hidden by their hemorrhoid symptoms, and so on.

    the sooner we abandon this national religion the NHS and instead copy from countries which do it far better like Australia and New Zealand the better.

    • ChrisS
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      “The sooner we abandon this national religion the NHS and instead copy from countries which do it far better like Australia and New Zealand the better”.

      Unfortunately no politician is brave enough to say this are they ?

      You are right, Iain, the NHS has been elevated to a religion and everyone who works in it is now regarded as a Saint. Everywhere we see banners saying “Thank You NHS” yet I would imagine that 80% of NHS staff have done nothing more than their normal jobs and, from the evidence I have seen, A & E waiting times on a Friday night reduced to as little as 7 minutes and ambulances arriving after less than ten minutes, a great deal of them have been twiddling their thumbs for lack of patients !

      My wife and I have experience of the German healthcare system when we lived there and I have to say that it is the better model to follow. There is nothing like the differential between state and private provision as anyone can buy private insurance to bolster levels of care. We should at least introduce a universal voucher system. This would reduce the cost of selecting a private hospital or consultant so that it is brought within the reach of a great deal more people.

      The NHS simply must be forced to hold its collective nose and adopt the principal of charging every single non-resident for the care they receive at our expense.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        There is a lot of unfairness going on in the NHS Chris, many nursing and medical staff have worked throughout, but there are a lot who didn’t work at all, all drawing full salary from March to July. This has been replicated in other public sector organisations who get paid whether they work or not, with ‘some’ staff members allowed to work just a few hours per day from home or not at all whilst some others have slogged full time for no extra.

        • ChrisS
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          I realise that, a-tracy, but it’s up to NHS management to organise the workload fairly across the board.

          The fact that they haven’t is further proof that the NHS is not a well managed organisation. Why is it not ?

          In my view there are far too many public sector jobs, many of which that would be run much better and more efficiently by the private sector.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            we need the healthy dynamic of end consumers being able to take their business elsewhere forcing providers to change, not by complaints, not by elections, not by top down dictat, but simply by taking their business elsewhere.

            money needs to follow the patients and the patients need absolute choice.

  27. Lifelogic
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    “It is now policy to either have isolation hospitals for CV 19 or to have isolated and sealed parts of hospitals to contain CV 19 patients and those helping them. “

    This should have been policy in about February – as was surely blindingly obvious even to politicians by then?

    What the UK health care sector needs is real freedom and choice not a communist state run virtual monopoly with huge waiting lists, delays, negligence and inefficiency. Make a level playing field between the state system and private one. So you do not have to pay many times over to go privately and make the NHS charge with refunds to patients who cannot pay.

    Same for education. But the Boris/Sunak government is. it seems. essentially another fake Conservative socialist one.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Second paragraph spot on.

      I still don’t think data on nosocomial transmission has been clearly presented.

  28. Fred H
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    OFF TOPIC – attn Martin.

    France, Spain, Greece, Australia, Japan admit alarming rise in Covid infections.
    I thought all other countries had eradicated the problem?
    Iran data leak indicates 3 fold truth of Covid deaths.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Alarming being from a tiny number to a very small one, compared to UK cases.

      Many things are relative.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 7, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

        still ignoring the truth, eh!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 7, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          Not I, but you, I think.

  29. Anonymous
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    A scan of the Tory tabloids today and I see all of them are saying the same now:

    The government is listening to bad science. Covid death rates are going down. Counter-Covid measures are killing more people than Covid itself. Get the economy out of the lockdown coma, there are more infections because we are testing more but deaths are going down, we must balance risk and learn to live with Covid, all the things that make life living will be gone if we carry on like this… and the worst…

    the scientists who got us into this mess put their being proven right above the safety and welfare of the people.

    This is the mainstream view now.

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      I pray that it is, Anon.
      As the media largely forced the Government into their lunacy, let’s hope they can force them out of it now.
      All it needs is for Johnson to man up and publicly admit he has made a terrible unwarranted error by going down the Full Lockdown route. Currently pure cowardice, self-interest, stupidity and stubbornness by one individual is condemning further thousands to death and destitution.
      Far better we had the Norwegian Prime Minister leading this country.

      • Lin Jones
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        ”The media largely forced the Government….”
        But if you look at the website, on 17 April a partnership was agreed…..

      • Zorro
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        He should apologise and permanently wear a muzzle so that he is reminded of his political cowardice and lack of leadership at every turn and that everyone else can remember his political cowardice.


  30. glen cullen
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    To save the health and education sector ie back to pre-covid19 working norm, all the MPs and Peers have to return to Westminister….and return without any conditions and in full

    When the working classess see Westminister Palace full they’ll have no excuse but to follow the example of our brave and courageous MPs

    Reply We tried that in June and July. MPs were back, but no staff.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      reply to reply …. the staff would be Civil servants? Does that indicate little need for them?

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Then the ‘staff’ need to be instructed to get back to work!

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        I bet that only half of the public sector will return to work when furlong is finished …they’ll be asked to return not instructed – thats why we need every MPs seating in the commons as an eample

  31. Nigl
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Maybe we should remind the Children’s Commissioner, who wants to close down economic activity how the money for her salary gets generated?

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I really can’t understand why we have a childrens commissioner (and others)

      Isn’t this just MPs sub-contracting out responsbility

  32. MWB
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Pie in the sky.
    The NHS cannot even use existing computer technology.

    The NHS doesn’t seem to be able to put a patient’s treatment in one single record, so that it can be read by consultants in different hosptals where treatment is being provoded by different departments. People that I know, say that one hospital would be unaware that a petient had had treatment at another hospital. The NHS also seems to routinely lose test results that have been carried out, either in the same hospital or in another centre.

    • Lin Jones
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      ”We have been working with the NHS for over 25 years, providing generalist health support services, from facilities management to acute patient flow.”
      Anything to do with their ”provisions”?

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      OK MWB but it they made The NHS Spine open access to all and sundry medical providers I want to see the footprint of my personal record and who had accessed it, when and for how long. There is GDPR that the government never seems to have to mind.

  33. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Stolen from – – Written byPieter Cleppe

    An article in the Dutch, left-leaning newspaper Het Parool led with the headline ‘Despite Brexit, multinationals prefer London over Amsterdam or Paris’ this week. The piece reports that ‘the feared exit [of companies] from Great Britain is not happening’ as expected, and highlights the fact that Unilever decided to:

    “‘become fully British, scrapping its dual [Anglo-Dutch] structure [which has been in place for 90 years]. Its headquarters will be London and not Rotterdam, despite the avid attempts of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’

    Reportedly, the opportunity offered by London’s capital markets trumps any risks resulting from Brexit, an element that could also play a role in Shell possibly moving its headquarters from the Netherlands to the UK.

    The article goes on to point out that despite relocations by some major companies (such as Dyson, Honda and Panasonic) firms have not rushed to leave Britain. At least 1,441 companies have even recently moved to the UK, according to official statistics published in November.

    Goldman Sachs has recently decided to build a new £1 billion headquarters in London and city firms are less worried about Brexit, ‘having spent millions of pounds on precautions for any negative consequences’.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Gee, it’s almost as if some politicians were lying to us in 2016.

      • ChrisS
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Surely not !

  34. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    The EU perspective – UK wouldn’t be able to consume all the fish it is entitled to catch in its own waters.

    The word ‘entitled’, gets in the way of a sensible discussion. It is nothing to do with them, full stop

    • multiID
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      It means you care very little about your fellow human beings who might be in need . Nobody owns waters, especially the sea- nobody can own it- the best that can be said is that marked out sea limits is a territorial claim ie. some man’s poor attempt to do what a dog on shore does to a lamp post.

      • beresford
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

        And yet every coastal nation in the world has its territorial waters. Why is Britain different?

  35. Chris H
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Tell me Mr Redwood when are MP’s going to end their long tax payer funded holiday and start holding government to account? When are they going to ask why were death statistics so grossly inflated and why has government caused 4 times as many deaths from lockdown than died of the alleged virus? Why have they not asked why government orders mask wearing when many studies and their own deputy chief medical officer says they are harmful and don’t stop any virus? When will they look at the figures and see that flu and any number of other diseases are far worse then covid? When will they stop hiding like the cowards they are and do their job of representing the people and not big pharma?

    Reply My job continues as you can see again today. The job of scrutinising, advising and criticising government continues daily. Parliament returns early September as it does every year.

    • Zorro
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Why not answer his question about masks? Where are the RCTs/evidence? Van Tam and Harries both explicitly stated that waskmearing increases the risk of catching the virus particularly the poor habits I have seen at wearing them like wet face nappies!


    • James Bertram
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your blog, Sir John. You seem to work much harder than 95% of MPs, and certainly more so than our invisible Guildford MP .
      But what are you advising (hopefully not more daft plans to ‘control the virus’)? Are you telling the government that the responses you get on here are increasingly hostile to the government’s Lockdown and Social Distancing interventions? Are you telling them that they need to change their scientific advisers and look more towards reaching herd immunity by not intervening, the Swedish approach, and the rapid decline in cases in Pakistan soon after they ended Lockdown on 9th May? Are you telling them that they need to admit they’ve got this issue badly wrong, that they need to apologise for their errors and end this lockdown immediately? And are you getting through to them? It seems Sir Graham Brady pretty much gets ignored for his efforts – [See Lockdown Sceptics yesterday- the section: ‘Government Refuses to Disclose When Mask Diktat Will be Reviewed and Admits Evidence is Weak’].
      Good luck.

      Reply My advice to the government is in line with my comments on this site. I have spent a lot of time offering advice on how to get more people back to work and how to tame the virus without needing total lock down.

      • M H
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        You ask all the right questions John Bertram. Thank you.

      • Polly
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but you’re still flying the Conservative Party as if it was a normal 737 from the 1980s…….

        The designation might be the same, but the airplane isn’t, all the controls do something else and don’t respond as you expect…..

        ….and that’s because the Conservative Party has turned into a Max !


  36. a-tracy
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Rescue no. 1 “Coronavirus: Safety concerns halt use of 50 million NHS masks

    “The government says the masks, which use ear-loop fastenings rather than head loops, may not fit tightly enough.”

    Can I suggest 16 Pieces Ear Strap Hook Adjustable Ear Cord Extension Buckle Ear Rope Adjuster to Relieve Pressure Pain Adjust Toughness for Kids Adult Teachers Workers (Black, Pink, Blue, Clear) – reuseable issued to each wearer, relieves pressure on their ear lobes anyway only £8 for 16 check out Amazon and other providers.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      can I suggest taking each loop in turn, placing a soft knot in the loop near the mask not the ear, testing comfort and tightness before making the knot a tight one?

      QED. and FREE all solved at home in seconds – no broadband required.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 7, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        The staff would complain they are not comfortable and causes ear pain for the long hours they have to wear them, hence the back of the head ear strap hook adjusts and relieves pressure on the ears for long periods of wear.

  37. a-tracy
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    For goodness sakes John, as of yesterday there are reported to be ” 727 Coronavirus patients in a hospital in England and 63 patients in mechanical ventilation beds.” As of September 2019, there are 854 hospitals the England.

    The NW region has 110 hospitals, Scotland has 279 hospitals, how many covid patients are there in each regions’ hospitals? “Here’s the full list of hospital numbers per district: Scotland 279, South West 138, London 134, South East 132, North West 110. East of England 90, Wales 83, West Midlands 80, Yorkshire & Humber 69, North East 57, East Midlands 42, Northern Ireland 41, Channel Islands 1 and finally the Isle of Man has 1 hospital.” Source


    • glen cullen
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

    • na
      Posted August 8, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      a doctor told me yesterday they only have one covid patient lol

  38. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    We don’t want the NHS ‘Buying’ anything. We want patients to have ‘vouchers’ and go where they please for treatment. The NHS is a disaster as is the Government, everything either touch, turns to ashes.

    • David Brown
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Er no we dont love. The overwhelming majority want a free at the point of entry NHS for every person in the UK irrespective of original nationality paid for by tax. Very simple really.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        how condescending…

      • Edward2
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Do you like the German system?
        Just one example.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 7, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        When was the public asked “if the health service was still provided free at the point of use would you be happy to access your treatment at any hospital private or nhs” Yes or No?

        I know lots of people that took the advantage of having tests in a private hospital because they were quicker, closer and better organised in Stoke when they were given the opportunity.

    • hefner
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      You tell us you attended a citizenship ceremony today. Do I have to understand that up to now you were not a British citizen, but only ‘a citizen of nowhere’?

  39. RichardP
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    GPs will soon go the same way as NHS Dentists. If you want to see an actual, qualified doctor you will have to pay.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Logically having a universal National Health Insurance would permit all health issues to free at point of delivery. It is the free at point of delivery should be the only objective. All flavors of government despite their platitudes have never been able to manage an effective service at the point of delivery at any time in its History. Yet they keep trying to convince themselves a one size fits all top down dictatorship will one day yield results.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      My NHS GP practice normally fobs people off with a nurse, so yep you have to go private to see an actual doctor.

      Same with consultant appointments, pretty much only way to get a proper impartial opinion is to go private.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      I think it has started to become clearer what this extended lockdowns purpose is.
      1. virtual doctors
      2. virtual A&E triage
      3. cashless shopping so that tracking and tracing can start
      4. The greenification agenda
      5. Working From Home (just wait until H&S starts getting involved though then these companies are going to yelp).
      Just for starters…

  40. agricola
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    There are two factors that should help the NHS ongoing.

    Purchasing needs to be on the basis of the whole NHS , and Trusts should draw down on it. This should also include the care sector. I suspect it is not as professional as it should be. The PPE fiasco points to the lack of professionalism. The saving in people and money could be considerable.

    Covid 19 and even winter flu outbreaks put a burdon on NHS hospitals. To prevent this we need dedicated isolation (Nightingale) hospitals in mothballs when not needed. NHS Trusts can then get on with treating all the other problems that are their norm.

    I feel it has been a great mistake to effectively close down GP surgeries. Systems could be put in place for the greater safety of all who work in them and visit them. Closing them is just plain daft. During this crisis they have become as accessible as your average bank or other commercial company on line. You cannot.

    Some contributors on this diary think the whole NHS should be privatised. I do not because private health companies and health insurance companies cherry pick. They are not much good in many areas, especially ongoing problems. The NHS can be improved but not via a political agenda. At the end of this I believe that palliative care and the Air Ambulance should be a tax financed nationally.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      ‘effectively close down GP surgeries’.
      They have become remote call advice centres – could be located in India?

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 7, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        To be honest Fred I’m surprised Out of Hours triage by phone and video call hasn’t been subbed out to Indonesia or Indian medical facilities. At 10pm in Indonesia it is 4pm.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 7, 2020 at 4:10 am | Permalink

      But the NHS is a political agenda. Just ask Labour ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 8, 2020 at 5:21 am | Permalink

      Agricola – how can the private sector compete with a free at the point of use NHS that has taxed you already for the costs? It is blatantly unfair competition that kills most competitor so they have to cherry pick. What I want to see is freedom of choice. People should be free to use private health care without having to pay for the NHS if they choose not to use it. Currently they have to pay 4 times over. 1. in normal taxes for others health care, 2. extra tax on the money they earn to pay for medical insurance, 3. the insurance premium and then 4. 12% extra in IPT tax.

  41. graham1946
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    And this is the main trouble with the Tory re-organisation of the NHS of 2012. Over 200 clinical care commissioning groups all duplicating one another, all with directors and CEO’s, accounts, buying etc. because of the obsession with the ‘internal market’ which has resulted in too many managers and administrators on big money trying to save pennies and making jobs for themselves.

    We also need to go back 50 years and reinstate convalescent homes so that people who have finished their clinical treatment but need more time and basic nursing to heal, can be discharged from expensive hospital beds to free up beds for more treatment, rather than just warehousing or minding the elderly who cannot yet go directly home.

    The shambles we have, they will never admit to and instead keep tinkering and chucking more money around, to no better effect. Another saving would be to stop GP’s who are private contractors accessing the NHS pension scheme. They earn plenty and should look after themselves like all self employed people do.

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    If all COVID-19 patients were to be transferred to the Nightingale hospitals, the NHS would find it a lot easier to persuade other patients to report to mainstream hospitals. Patients believe – perfectly rationally – that hospitals are places where infections spread rapidly.

    Why don’t we end this free-at-the-point-of-consumption die-on-the-waiting-list nonsense and raise revenue over and above what the public are willing to pay through taxes, by introducing modest charges for GP appointments and non-emergency A&E appointments?

    With these reforms, we could hire and retain enough nurses and doctors, paying them more if necessary.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      By the time I have paid national insurance, income tax, council tax, VAT, car tax, duties on fuel, parking charges, tax on savings interest and a whole raft of other taxes, I give more than half of my money to the government. And now you want to charge me to see a doctor!!!!! What on earth are my taxes buying me?

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 7, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        You’re forgetting your personal compulsory 5% NEST (unless you’re self-employed) that used to be within the national insurance charge.

  43. David Brown
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I totally agree with your comments.
    I also note that Sweden did not lock down yet has suffered a similar GDP drop on a scale very much same as countries that did lock down.
    BOE has currently suggested it will take 2 years to fully recover!!!.
    Your manifesto on the NHS at the last election inc increased funding is fixed until the next election.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      The NHS has had increased funding every year since it began.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 7, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, because the Swedish people self-imposed behaviour very similar to a mandatory lockdown, being Swedish, and not English.

      That is one reason why it gives no indication as to how well such a voluntary measure would have worked in other countries such as the UK.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 7, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        So now you are claiming Sweden sort of volutarily did a lockdown.
        Interesting when you see the very normal street scenes available on the internet showing cities open for business.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 8, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          Oh, so why has their economy taken the hit, then?

  44. Butties
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Can our host pass any comment on the PPE fiasco as reported in the Times and by Craig Murray in respect of the use of our money and the NHS. the £250 million PPE contract “Ayanda Capital”, Andrew Mills (a Government adviser) and the £100 company he set up.

    It is time for backbench MP’s to earn their salt on Covid and the rest of it. Open Parliament now, to show that opening schools is not an issue.

  45. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    I have just attended a citizenship ceremony, delayed 5 months because of lockdown, all in a mask. I had to swear allegiance and to ‘uphold the freedoms of the U.K.’ – someone somewhere is having a laugh!

    • Fred H
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      surely you asked ‘what are the freedoms?’

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 7, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Read the Human Rights Act, Fred.

  46. Lifelogic
    Posted August 7, 2020 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    Lynn, do please look at the weekly death figures – about 70,000 excess deaths in a very large bulge over about 13 weeks. The idea that many of these were caused by (additional to normal) “heart attacks, suicides and associated stress related problems” is clearly not remotely sustainable as a sensible explanation.

  47. The real
    Posted August 8, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    We can get rid of most teachers now and start teaching with AI

  48. The future is AI t
    Posted August 8, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    The teaching Unions are playing into our hands.

  • 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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