Covid-19 - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:49 pm on 15th July 2021.

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Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 1:49 pm, 15th July 2021

The challenge presented by workforce illness in the NHS is acute at the moment. It is one we are very conscious of, and the noble Baroness is entirely right that parents who have a sick child must stay at home. Not only is that humane; it is also infection control wisdom. That puts the pressure on. That is why we have prioritised vaccination among healthcare staff, and we are prioritising the boosters for staff.

In terms of managing emergency services, we are conducting a huge marketing campaign around the use of NHS 111 so that people can book their slot and be directed to the right kinds of services because, as the noble Baroness knows, many people who turn up in emergency departments are not necessarily in the right place for the conditions they present.

In terms of variants of concern, we are keeping an eye on lambda, beta and all those that may present a vaccine escape risk. We will take whatever steps necessary to address their threat.