Following the Health Secretary’s Covid update to the House of Commons, Harriett Baldwin asks if hospitals will be able to add more beds as the vaccine roll-out progresses and the need for social distancing is reduced.
I have always warmly appreciated the energy with which the Secretary of State has successfully prevented our hospitals from being overwhelmed, and I have also backed this amazing vaccine that has now been rolled out. May I ask the Secretary of State about capacity in hospitals? I understand that social distancing requires there to be fewer beds in hospitals at the moment, but will hospitals be able to add more capacity as the vaccine roll-out is completed?
I certainly hope so; that is one of the things that we are talking about with the NHS. For now, that is not possible. We of course have extra emergency capacity in the Nightingales, and the testing regime has allowed the NHS to restore many of its services, so that in places such as Worcestershire it is able to carry on with almost all the necessary activity, including the electives and the cancer work, even through this second peak. I pay tribute to the NHS in Worcestershire for the work that it has done, with the support of the testing regime, and I really hope that the vaccine allows that to improve again, once we have got enough of the people who are most vulnerable to this disease vaccinated.