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Engagements

Part of Prime Minister – in the House of Commons on 29th April 2020.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

On “The Andrew Marr Show” on Sunday, I think the First Secretary said that the numbers of deaths in care homes were falling in line with those in hospitals. That does not appear to be borne out by the figures, unless there are some we have not seen. I wonder if he could take a moment to clarify that.

Yesterday was memorial day for all those who have lost their lives at work, and it is important that we honour and remember all those who have died, whether from coronavirus or anything else, but it is also important that we redouble our commitment to protecting all those at work, which is why protective equipment for the frontline is so crucial. I recognise the challenge the Government face on this—I recognise that getting the right piece of equipment to the right place every time is very difficult—but lives depend on it. It is 10 weeks since the Health Secretary declared that there was a serious and imminent threat to life, and one would hope that by now things would be getting better, not worse, yet a survey of the Royal College of Physicians published on Monday reported that one in four doctors were still not getting the protective equipment they needed, and the RCP president was quoted on Monday as saying:

“it is truly terrible that supply has worsened over the past three weeks rather than improved”.

I know that is not where the First Secretary or the Government want to be—with indications from the frontline that things are worse, not better—but he must recognise that this is a plea from the frontline. What is going on and how soon can it be fixed?