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Local News

Yorkshire health boss hits out at ‘high risk’ Covid Plan B strategy

today14/01/2022

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The government’s Plan B approach to Covid-19 measures has been a ‘very high risk strategy’ and relies on ‘hoping the NHS doesn’t get overwhelmed’, a senior Doncaster health figure has said.

Dr Rupert Suckling, director of public health at Doncaster Council criticised the approach taken by central government for England and said ministers were relying too much on the vaccine to get through the Omicron variant

He added the NHS were now ‘picking up the pieces’ but said a circuit breaker or national lockdown at this point ‘isn’t going to make any difference with Omicron cases due to peak in a week or so.

Get more health news from YorkshireLive here

Dr Suckling also compared London and South Yorkshire and despite being better vaccinated than the capital, the county’s population was generally older and more unwell.

“We’re concerned about two things – the impact of the infection on people’s health, we still think that too many people are getting ill and needing to go to hospital and that we’re relying solely on the vaccine – although this is good, this is probably insufficient,” Dr Suckling said.

“That’s why we’ve certainly encouraged face coverings, social distancing and hand washing.

“The other thing we see is, you know, these very high rates, and we know that the link between the high rates and the severity for individuals is different with Omicron and is different in vaccinated people.

“I think directors of public health would say this is a very high risk strategy – it feels like it’s hoped the NHS doesn’t get overwhelmed.

“When you think about South Yorkshire, yes, we have higher vaccination rates than London, but our population is generally older and less well. We’ve seen high mortality rates throughout the whole of the pandemic from Covid-19.

“Plan B is probably doing what it was intended to do but I don’t think that’s good enough.

“Now at this stage, we are expected to peak in the next 10 days or so. A national lockdown or circuit breaker isn’t going to make any difference at this stage. So we sort of missed the boat on that.

“But it just means that the health and care system is picking up the pieces.”

Earlier this week Dr Suckling revealed that half of the Covid patients in Doncaster hospitals were either unvaccinated or had not had their full course of jabs, and that hospitals were struggling with twice the normal number of staff off sick.

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Written by: Rother Radio News


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today14/01/2022