Health

NHS bosses ‘knew nothing’ of plans to end lockdown for high-risk Brits


NHS bosses were unaware of plans to end strict lockdown for millions of high-risk Brits.

Around 2.2 million “extremely vulnerable” people have been ordered to stay indoors since March to “shield” against the killer pandemic.

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 A source told the Health Service Journal that Dr Kanani, NHS England’s primary care medical director, 'knew nothing about the change'

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A source told the Health Service Journal that Dr Kanani, NHS England’s primary care medical director, ‘knew nothing about the change’

But on Sunday, ministers announced it was safe for them to venture outdoors again after ten weeks confinement.

They can leave the house with members of their household or if they live alone, meet with someone from another household outside as long as they socially distance.

Many medical leaders were surprised by the rule changes, including England’s top GP.

Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s primary care medical director, tweeted on Sunday “I have understandably had a number of messages about the shielding announcement made last night.

“As soon as I know more, I will post on this thread”.

A source told the Health Service Journal that Dr Kanani “knew nothing about the change.”

A second added: “As far as I can see [the change] came as a surprise to all in [NHS England].”

A spokesman for NHS England refused to comment on whether it was consulted on the new guidance.

Medical unions also said family doctors were left in the dark about the relaxation in restrictions for the nation’s most clinically vulnerable.

They include transplant patients and cancer sufferers taking chemotherapy, which undermines their immune system.

British Medical Association GP committee chair Richard Vautrey said: “Practices received the updated standard operation procedure guidance on Saturday 30 May, which contained detailed advice on the management for shielding patients [under the previous arrangements].

“And yet only a few hours later the guidance appeared to have changed without warning, and practices still have not received any further clarification.

“It’s therefore imperative that practices are informed before public announcements, so that they are in a position to support their patients as effectively as possible.

“Covid-19 is potentially very dangerous for those with underlying health conditions, and it is only right that we, as their family doctors, are properly prepared for any changes to guidance around their care.” The Royal College of GPs said it was not consulted.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The deputy chief medical officer signed off [the guidance] and so did Public Health England.

“It was guidance drawn up by PHE.”

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