Last week, I asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care some questions on the Coronavirus crisis. In these troubling times, I want to make sure constituents are getting the information they need, therefore I have submitted the following written questions.
I asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether NHS intensive care units have appropriate facilities and adequate resources to help save the lives of patients worst affected by Covid-19. Jo Churchill MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, provided me today with the following answer:
"The Chancellor recently advised that the National Health Service will get the resources it needs to cope with a COVID-19 epidemic.
The NHS is currently scaling up intensive care beds. NHS England is looking at critical care capacity - including the availability of additional facilities of independent sector providers." The Government has launched a national effort for all those businesses with the capability to build ventilators. A dedicated hotline is available on 0300 456 3565 or businesses can email email@example.com. More information is available at this link.
I also asked what scientific advice he has received on the risk of transmission of covid-19 in public gatherings. The department answered that "Our approach has been, and will continue to be, guided by the evidence and latest advice from medical experts, including the Chief Medical Officer. It is absolutely critical in managing the spread of this virus that we take the right decisions at the right time based on the latest and best evidence.The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies meets regularly to discuss relevant issues, including scientific evidence related to public gatherings."
Yesterday, in his statement, the Prime Minister clarified that the Government will be no longer supporting mass gatherings, which draws a considerate amount of emergency resources from the front line.
I also asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support he will provide to in-work single parents in the event that schools close due to the covid-19 outbreak.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon Stephen Barclay PC MP, answered:
“The government’s current advice is that no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 case, unless advised to do so by Public Health England.
In the meantime, Budget has announced temporary, timely and targeted measures worth £12 billion to support the country through this period of disruption. As part of this package, self-isolators, and those caring for them, will have access to Statutory Sick Pay or New Style Employment and Support Allowance from day one of their absence. We are also ensuring Universal Credit supports the self-employed.
Budget also announced £500 million for Local Authorities in England to provide support to affected vulnerable households in their local area.”
The Government and Public Health England are introducing new measures to keep the public safe and reduce the risk of infection, all information is available here. Further measures to support workers and businesses will be introduced by the Chancellor.
I am available to give or seek clarification, when possible, to any questions constituents might have in relation to these measures.