Responding to the Secretary of State’s comments at the latest Downing Street press conference, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“No one wants another national lockdown, for NHS services to be disrupted this winter, or for people to get ill with coronavirus when there are measures at the Government’s disposal that are not heavy-handed and could reduce the likelihood of all of these scenarios.
“The NHS is already gearing up for a busy winter and so, the Secretary of State’s warning that daily confirmed cases of coronavirus could reach 100,000 a day and hospital admissions with the disease are approaching 1,000 a day will be of no comfort. Despite the success of the vaccination programme, more cases and hospitalisations will eventually lead to more deaths.
“The message from health leaders is clear – it is better to act now, rather than regret it later.
“We’ve heard the Secretary of State’s decision not to enact Plan B of the Government’s winter strategy and while we do not agree with him, we encourage him to keep reviewing the data and engaging with health leaders.
“Alongside that, there are measures the public can take to support frontline services this winter. This includes getting vaccinated against flu and coronavirus when invited, using frontline services responsibly, and volunteering to support, join or return to the workforce, if eligible.”