Health bosses hope public will support winter measures

NHS chiefs in Essex say they hope the public will support further coronavirus restrictions if the Government chooses to enforce them to combat a rise in cases.

Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trusts said it remains committed to the use of vaccines and face masks, as the government considers reintroducing some measures.

This comes after Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he was “leaning towards” making COVID vaccines mandatory for NHS staff.

A spokesperson for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust said in a statement: “To help ensure everyone stays as safe as possible, we are asking all staff members to have their flu vaccine and the COVID booster, when they are eligible to do so.

“Face masks continue to be worn by staff and visitors whilst on hospital grounds and we continue to follow guidance from Public Health England.

“We are also working closely with our partners in the NHS and social care to respond to the higher demand for services as we approach winter so we can provide the best possible care for our patients.”

North Essex NHS Foundation Trust declined to comment.

Last week, the British Medical Association (BMA) and the NHS Confederation called on the government to introduce it’s Plan B measures to avoid a winter crisis.

Plan B includes making face masks compulsory, introducing COVID passports and advising people to work from home.

A BMA spokesperson said in a statement: “It is wilfully negligent of the Westminster Government not to be taking any further action to reduce the spread of infection, such as mandatory mask wearing, physical distancing and ventilation requirements in high-risk settings, particularly indoor crowded spaces.”

Sajid Javid said in a press conference last week that infection levels could reach 100,000 per day over the winter, but that the government “won’t be implementing our plan B of contingency measures at this point.”

Instead the government is choosing to remain with Plan A for now, which includes offering booster COVID vaccines to the over-50s, offering healthy 12 to 15-year-olds a single vaccine dose, continuing NHS Test and Trace and encouraging people to take a free flu jab.

According to reporting by the BBC more than half of those eligible for a booster vaccine have received one.


Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter