Former well being secretary Jeremy Hunt has admitted the UK had been concentrating all of its pandemic planning solely on flu.
Talking on a Sky Information’ particular programme, Covid Disaster: Studying the Classes, Mr Hunt – Britain’s longest ever serving well being secretary – was candid.
Requested if he felt he ought to take some accountability for the off-target NHS planning, he replied: “Sure, I do.
“We deliberate extensively for pandemics… however we now know we had been planning for a flu pandemic.
“There was a ‘group assume’ that pandemics had been more likely to be flu… we clearly know that is not the case now.”
He stated the unique planning for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine had began again in 2016 – however for coping with the Ebola disaster.
“We now have discovered we have now bought to be rather more open-minded to the type of virus we is perhaps subjected to, and be higher at horizon scanning throughout the entire world – and actually considering what the dangers are,” he stated.
He admitted: “As a rustic – we have now not bought every part proper in our pandemic dealing with.
“We have to be taught classes – and the most important lesson of all is that in a pandemic you need to act quicker than the virus.
“We had been too gradual to lockdown, we had been too gradual to get PPE issues sorted out and to get the Observe and Hint capability up and working.”
However he paid tribute to the nation’s vaccine rollout and the NHS.
“We now have been one of many quickest on this planet relating to vaccine approval and distribution and that I believe is our nice hope,” he stated.
“And the NHS could be very happy with what it has executed.
“I believe we have to make this a extremely huge second within the NHS’s historical past as a result of it has simply been via the most important problem.
“Frankly, it is come out with flying colors. Each single affected person who has wanted a ventilator, or who has wanted an intensive care mattress has bought one.”
And he known as for a root and department overview of NHS staffing in an effort to handle shortages.
“Our NHS employees are completely exhausted…so I believe the one factor we might actually do for NHS employees this 12 months is put in place a long-term plan to type out our workforce shortages.
“What NHS employees want to know is that there was a correct plan in place in order that over time we will cope with these points.”