Hospital bosses and university vice-chancellors have been ordered by the government to “get back to normal” and get rid of Covid restrictions.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has even threatened to name and shame hospitals where pandemic measure haven’t been eased.
According to The Telegraph:
In the latest effort to return the country to a pre-pandemic footing, Mr Javid issued a warning to NHS trusts ignoring government rules on infection control procedures.
The guidelines were significantly relaxed last month in an effort to free up more capacity to tackle record waiting lists – which topped 6.2 million in February.
The Health Secretary’s intervention comes after The Telegraph previously revealed hospitals were continuing to restrict families from visiting patients, against official guidance issued in March.
As of this week, University Hospitals Birmingham still has all routine visits suspended, except in extreme circumstances such as end-of-life care.
Meanwhile, the Universities Minister has vowed to “put boots on the ground” at university campuses to investigate institutions where students have complained about a lack of face-to-face teaching.
Writing for The Telegraph website she said: “It is time for the stubborn minority to look at the rest of the country, look at themselves, and do the right thing. If they don’t, they will soon have much bigger problems to deal with.”
Her warning comes after complaints about university courses were at the highest level on record last year, with some reporting technology issues during online exams.
Students also “complained about lack of access to laboratories, cancelled or changed projects, placements and study abroad opportunities”, according to a report by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA).
The OIA received 2,763 complaints from students in 2021, an increase of 6 per cent on 2020 levels.
Ms Donelan said it is her “duty” to call out universities “who refuse to keep pace with the rest of the country” as we learn to live with the virus.
She said she has been “personally calling vice-chancellors” of universities failing to offer in-person classes to remind them of their responsibility to students.
Students “deserve better”, she said, and warned that universities could face “severe consequences, including fines”, if they fail to act.
You know, if Donelan and Javid were serious, they would launch a joint campaign to urge people to stop testing themselves for Covid once and for all.
Absenteeism is a bigger problem than that of hospitals and uni’s refusing to drop restrictions.
On Monday, it took me an age to get a taxi from my hotel in Sheffield to the city centre. When I eventually did get one, I asked my affable Asian driver if the staff shortage was down to the celebration of Eid.
He said that the problem is a constant one. He said healthy colleagues or those with colds were still using flow tests and then isolating themselves. He said that it isn’t just a problem in the taxi business, but that it is decimating the hospitality industry too.
If the government was serious about returning to normal, it would declare the pandemic over and launch a campaign to end testing for good.
But then the government isn’t really serious about returning to normal, is it?