Covid news – live: NHS backlog plan ‘delayed by Omicron’


(PA)

Plans to tackle NHS England’s backlog of patients waiting for treatment was delayed ‘by Omicron,’ the health secretary has said.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said: “We were planning to originally publish the plan in early December but of course with Omicron and our concerns about that, we understandably changed focus on to the booster programme.”

He added that the plan will be published “soon” as we come out “the other side” of the Omicron wave.

Meanwhile, an Oxford scientist has said politicians and scientists who damaged the reputation of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine “probably killed hundreds of thousands of people”.

Due to a link to very rare blood clots, UK government advisors recommended that only people under 40 should receive the jab and it has played a very little role in the booster scheme.

Professor Sir John Bell said: “They have damaged the reputation of the vaccine in a way that echoes around the rest of the world.”

“I think bad behavior from scientists and from politicians has probably killed hundreds of thousands of people – and that they cannot be proud of.”

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NHS Confederation chief executive warns against setting ‘unrealistic’ targets for backlog plan

NHS Confederation chief executive Matthew Taylor has expressed frustration over the lack of publishing the NHS backlog plan, but warned against setting “unrealistic” targets.

I’ve told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that the NHS is “ready to go” and “get on with the work” but said high and unrealistic targets could “skew clinical priorities”.

He said: “It is really important that we are accountable for public money that is spent, but the danger is that, if you take on targets that are unrealistic, you end up skewing clinical priorities in pursuit of those targets.

“The particular challenge we have got now is, whilst we know we have got millions on the waiting list, we don’t know how many people out there in the community ought to be on the waiting list but didn’t come forward during Covid .

“I think that big imponderable is why they have got to be a bit careful about targets.

“This is a frustrating situation for the NHS because there is a plan, it has been agreed with leaders, we are ready to go with it and we want to get on with the work.”

Ella Glover7 February 2022 09:22

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High NHS staff absence caused by Omicron continues

A “really high” level of staff absences from the NHS caused by Omicron are continuing, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers said.

Saffron Cordery said that some 70,000 staff had recently been absent across the NHS, 40 percent of which were absent due to Omicron or Covid-19 measures.

She said: “Trusts are doing everything they can to continue to deliver that planned care, and they’re also doing everything they can to help not just hospital waiting lists, but the broader set of demands and challenges we see across the NHS – so that’s mental health waits, community services waits, and we’ve got real pressures as well in social care, which is adding to the overall backlog that we see in hospitals.

“So having this elective recovery plan come on stream will be really, really important as quickly as possible to give the NHS the support it needs and the priorities it needs and help it understand how that funding will be allocated, but it’s really boosting its activity all the time.”

Ella Glover7 February 2022 09:16

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Damage to AstraZeneca vaccine reputation ‘probably killed hundreds of thousands’ – Oxford scientist

An Oxford scientist has said that fears surrounding the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, which caused it to be offered to only over-40s and paused in countries around the world, “probably killed hundreds of thousands of people”.

Professor Sir John Bell told the BBC: “They have damaged the reputation of the vaccine in a way that echoes around the rest of the world.”

“I think bad behavior from scientists and from politicians has probably killed hundreds of thousands of people – and that they cannot be proud of.”

As well as not being offered to young people, the vaccine has also not played a significant role in the booster campaign.

According to the BBC, it accounted for only 48,000 of the more than 37 million booster doses given in the UK.

Ella Glover7 February 2022 09:12

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Plans to tackle NHS backlog ‘delayed by Omicron’

Plans to tackle NHS England’s backlog of patients waiting for treatment was delayed ‘by Omicron,’ the health secretary has said.

Details of the scheme were meant to be published Monday but that has been pushed back.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said the plans were delayed by the emergence of the Omicron variant but would be published “soon”.

He said: “We were planning to originally publish the plan in early December but of course with Omicron and our concerns about that, we understandably changed focus on to the booster programme.

“But now that hopefully, I think we are almost certainly the other side of Omicron and things have massively improved, we are getting on with publishing that plan and we will publish it soon.”

Ella Glover7 February 2022 09:07


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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