Matthew Taylor

Sunday shows round-up: NHS waiting lists will continue to grow

Sunday shows round-up: NHS waiting lists will continue to grow
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Sajid Javid – 5.9 million are on NHS waiting lists

This morning the Health Secretary Sajid Javid took to the TV studios in a week where his departmental remit has been very much back in the spotlight. The Austrian government has announced that it will be going back into a nationwide lockdown, and there is heavy speculation that Germany might do the same. Javid told Trevor Phillips that the UK was still following ‘Plan A’ and that a winter lockdown was still very unlikely, but confirmed that things were far from rosy in the National Health Service:

SJ: People waiting for elective procedures is around 5.9 million, and as I’ve said… this number is going to come up before it goes down.

Vaccination ‘should be a positive choice’

Speaking to Andrew Marr, Javid completely ruled out Austria’s newly announced policy of mandatory vaccinations for the general population:

SJ: Taking a vaccine should be a positive choice… In terms of requiring mandatory vaccination for the general population, I don’t think that’s something we would ever look at.

Health service equipment may have ‘racial bias’

Javid also said that he had launched a review into the effectiveness of NHS medical equipment, in light of unreliable readings being given to patients during the pandemic. In particular, he highlighted oximeters, which had overestimated the amount of oxygen in the blood of ethnic minority patients, and he said that it was entirely possible that some people undergoing treatment may have died as a result:

SJ: There may actually be, in health services across the world, a systemic racial bias… We saw that quite acutely during the Covid crisis.

It is ‘right to ask’ if Channel migrants are genuine asylum seekers

Phillips inquired about what the government’s plans were for dealing with the significant rise in migrants attempting to cross the English Channel. Javid stressed that the government was attempting to be tough on the issue, arguing that the government should look very closely at treating any crossings from France as genuine asylum cases:

SJ: We do have to ask ourselves, if people are trying to get to the UK from safe countries like France, are they genuine asylum seekers or not? It is right to ask that.

Nick Thomas-Symonds – Patel ‘comprehensively failing’ on migrant crossings

Phillips also interviewed the Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds. Thomas-Symonds was scathing about his opposite number’s response to the migrant crisis, branding it a ‘dangerous failure’ and called for a ‘workable deal’ with France to resolve it. He also called for the reintroduction of the Dubs scheme to allow vulnerable unaccompanied children more easy access to the country:

NTS: The Home Secretary is comprehensively failing in this policy area… Her incompetence on this issue is dangerous.

Maroš Šefčovič – Lord Frost not ‘pushing for urgent solutions’ to NI border

Marr spoke to Maroš Šefčovič, the Vice President of the EU Commission. Šefčovič has been in negotiations with Lord Frost about the difficulties imposed under the Northern Ireland protocol, which have been the source of considerable frustration. He accused Frost of ‘political posturing’ after Frost wrote an article this morning calling for ‘urgency’ in resolving the disputes:

MŠ: Sometimes I have the feeling in our meetings I am the only one who is pushing for urgent solutions.

Andrew Pollard – ‘It’s unlikely’ UK will see sharp rise in Delta variant

And finally, Professor Andrew Pollard, the director of Oxford Vaccine Group, gave his prognosis on how the UK was likely to fare over the winter months amid rising Covid cases on the continent:

AP: I think it’s unlikely that we’re going to see [a] very sharp rise in the next few months… We’re already ahead of that with [the Delta variant].