Will NHS Opt for “Plan B” To Overcome The COVID Winter Crisis?

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  • Some Covid restrictions must immediately be reintroduced if England is to avoid “stumbling into a winter crisis”, health leaders have warned.
  • New Delta Covid mutant under close watch in UK reports 43,738 cases. Downing Street said on Wednesday that there were no plans to activate Plan B for winter, saying that they would continue to monitor the data 
  • It is not surprising that NHS leaders are warning about a very challenging time ahead with the risk of a “winter crisis”.
  • The confederation is, in effect, taking issue with ministers by suggesting the key government test for implementing Plan B in England – the likelihood of the NHS coming under unsustainable pressure – has already been met.

Some Covid restrictions must immediately be reintroduced if England is to avoid “stumbling into a winter crisis”, health leaders have warned, reports BBC.

Government Urges for Plan B

UK cases have been rising sharply but deaths are well below the winter peak.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it was not time for Plan B yet and urged greater uptake of booster jabs.

Daily Covid cases have been above 40,000 for eight days in a row, with 49,139 new infections reported on Wednesday, and, as of Tuesday, there were 7,891 patients in the hospital.

If these measures are not enough to prevent “unsustainable pressure” on the NHS, then steps like making face coverings mandatory in some settings, asking people to work from home, and introducing vaccine passports could be considered as part of Plan B.

Matthew Taylor, head of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service organizations, urged the government to roll out Plan B to avoid hospitals becoming overwhelmed.

NHS under Unsustainable Pressure

Some may feel it is a familiar refrain and that the health service often raises concerns ahead of winter.

The confederation is, in effect, taking issue with ministers by suggesting the key government test for implementing Plan B in England – the likelihood of the NHS coming under unsustainable pressure – has already been met.

Concerns about the pace of the rollout of the vaccine booster program and a steady increase in Covid cases and hospital numbers have left some amber lights flashing.

Ministers will argue more time is needed to assess data before making big decisions on restrictions affecting everyday lives.

This could include encouraging people to get vaccinated, turn up to appointments on time and even volunteer to support the NHS.

The vaccine roll-out

But NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard told MPs on Tuesday that “there is no delay” in sending out invitations for booster jabs.

Prof Adam Finn from the University of Bristol, one of the members of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), urged the government to encourage greater voluntary measures now that we had a higher level of infections than at any point in the pandemic.

“The boosters don’t have an impact on that, that’s where we need to have people who are unvaccinated to be vaccinated.”

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Source: BBC News

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