Steerpike

NHS boss’s dig at Whitty and Vallance

NHS boss's dig at Whitty and Vallance
Sir Simon Stevens (Photo by Pippa Fowles / No. 10 Downing Street)
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Sir Simon Stevens, the chief exec of NHS England, joined Boris Johnson during this evening's Downing Street press conference where the pair sought to justify England's second national lockdown. Stevens, however, went one step further: he had a dig at Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance. He told the press conference:  

I've watched a number of these press briefings and sometimes the charts can be a bit hard to keep up with. So I've just got one chart today that indisputably sets out what we in the health service are seeing. 

Stevens's chart — which shows the number of patients in hospital in England with Covid-19 — was then described by the NHS boss as 'facts: not projections, forecasts, speculation'. A not too subtle snipe at the chief scientific adviser and chief medical officer's 'winter scenario' used at Saturday's conference. 

The Whitty and Vallance graph used a Public Health England and Cambridge projection, which suggested the UK could see 4,000 deaths a day by the start of December. That model has been widely criticised, including by the UK Statistics Authority. Earlier today, the body released a warning stating that the Whitty-Vallance graph had the 'potential to confuse the public and undermine confidence in the statistics'. 

Ouch!

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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