Two weeks ago at the beginning of April, Matthew Hancock returned from his seven day personal C-19 isolation and made statements during the next two Coronavirus Daily Updates that clearly now need to be explained in the light of the news from this weekend. One is the fact that the Government has not yet responded to the petition to Give non-British citizens who are NHS workers automatic citizenship. The petition is now very close to 50,000 signatures with less than 2,400 needed to hit this number. The real target is 100,000 which then calls on the Parliament to debate it, but when it passes the 10,000 number of signatures, the Government is asked to respond and although that number of signatures happened over a week ago, so far they have not responded. It is certainly not too late for anyone reading this to sign the petition here. Just to clarify what Matthew Hancock has said to indicate his support for it, on Thursday 2nd April, a week before the petition was formed, he stated:
Many of those who’ve died who are from the NHS were people who came to this country to make a difference and they did and they’ve given their lives in sacrifice and we salute them.
So this is clearly an indication that he would want to support the meaning behind the petition and indeed he may have signed it. Either way when the Parliament meets virtually on Tuesday it is vital that Matthew Hancock supports it.
The second theme is much more critical in the short term and it refers to the PPE provision for our medical staff. On 2nd April Matthew stated:
I will stop at nothing to make sure that front line staff have the right equipment so that they’re safe and can have the confidence they need to do their jobs and I know that people have been asking questions about protective equipment. With the support of the British Military we have shipped a record quantity of equipment to the front line. Just yesterday 45million pieces of protective equipment were delivered across health and social care including more than 5million aprons and 6million surgical masks.
On the following day on Friday 3rd April Matthew stated:
We are working round the clock to deliver essential deliveries of PPE across the NHS, across social care, key public services and in all Four Nations of the UK. Yesterday, more than 26 million PPE products were delivered to 281 different organisations
It is clear that despite these various priorities, that our Government has failed to respond properly to this issue and whilst the appointment of Paul Deighton as the PPE Tsar is clearly a good act, the question that has to be explained is why has it taken until today to identify the need for a PPE Tsar? The call for assistance was raised several days ago and even back on 2nd April it was clear that the needs were identified and yet nothing effective took place beyond the publication of that data!