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News

Outsourcing firm Serco wins £212m UK Test and Trace deal – The Register

Serco has won a £212m ($278m) contract for disease testing and contract tracing from the UK Health Security Agency, the organisations set up to replace the controversial NHS Test & Trace and doomed Public Health England.

In a contract initially set to last two years, the tech and public sector outsourcing provider will be expected to support services in the country including positive case tracing, contact tracing, isolation follow-up, test enquiries, and test bookings.

https://web.archive.org/web/20220322151639/https://www.theregister.com/2022/03/22/serco_win_212m_deal_to/

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News

‘WRONG ALL ALONG’ Covid death figures ‘may have been completely wrong due to poor statistics’ – The Sun

UK health and statistics authorities allegedly used 14 inconsistent ways to define fatalities.

Many who died early in the pandemic were never actually tested for the virus while others may have died from something else entirely, according to experts.

…The Oxford study, from 800 freedom of information requests, found some deaths were attributed to Covid just because a care home provider said so and coronavirus was rife.

The report stated: “At the beginning of the pandemic, Public Health England linked data on positive cases to the NHS central register of patients who died.

“This definition meant that a patient who tested positive would be counted as a Covid death even if they were run over by a bus several months later.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20220320144002/https://www.thesun.co.uk/health/18005434/covid-deaths-uk-wrong-study/

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News

Covid modelling that prompted first UK lockdown based on ‘inaccurate’ case numbers – The Telegraph

Scientists did not have accurate Covid case numbers, and were unsure of hospitalisation and death rates when they published models suggesting that more than 500,000 people could die if Britain took no action in the first wave of the pandemic, it has emerged.

On March 16 2020, Imperial College published its “Report 9” paper suggesting that failing to take action could overwhelm the NHS within weeks and result in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Before the paper, the UK coronavirus strategy was to flatten the peak rather than suppress the wave, but after the modelling was made public, the Government made a rapid u-turn, which eventually led to lockdown on March 23.

However SPI-M (Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling) minutes released to the Telegraph under a Freedom of Information request show that by March 16, modellers were still “uncertain” of case numbers “due to data limitations”.

The minutes show that members were waiting for comprehensive mortality data from Public Health England (PHE) and said that current best estimates for the infection fatality rate, hospitalisation rates, and the number of people needing intensive care were still uncertain.

They also believed that modelling only showed “proof of concept” that lockdowns could help, and warned that “further work would be required”.

https://web.archive.org/web/20220226190045/https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/02/26/covid-modelling-prompted-first-uk-lockdown-based-inaccurate/

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Publications

Applying behavioural and social sciences to improve population health and wellbeing in England – Public Health England

Published September 2018

The behavioural and social sciences are the future of public health. Evidence from behavioural science suggests that simple and easy ways of helping people to change their behaviour are the most effective. Whether it’s encouraging smokers to quit, increasing uptake of the NHS Health Check, making healthier food choices easier, or reducing the number of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions, this evidence can help in understanding and therefore influencing behaviour change that promotes health, prevents disease, and reduces health inequalities. We must reach and be meaningful to people in the lives that they are leading.

It is time for the public health system to advance the use of behavioural and social sciences, and for this purpose, PHE’s Behavioural Insights experts, working with many partners, have led the collaborative development of this comprehensive strategy – the first of its kind in the field.

For commentary on this document, see UK Column News, 23rd February 2022.

http://archive.today/2022.02.25-123059/https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/744672/Improving_Peoples_Health_Behavioural_Strategy.pdf

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News

Covid-19 Vaccines Were Deadly in Rare Cases. Governments Are Now Weighing Compensation – Wall Street Journal

[Ms. Spit] is part of a very small, little-discussed community of pandemic victims: those who have suffered—or had family or loved ones suffer—from rare but serious vaccine side effects recognized by doctors, regulators and researchers. They say they feel lost in wider Covid-19 statistics, which have shown vaccines to be extremely safe and effective for most of the population.

Faced with the gravest health crisis in memory, governments deployed newly developed vaccines in record time. Many countries indemnified pharmaceutical companies that made the shots, with some governments promising to consider compensation for suspected Covid-19 vaccine-related injuries.

Now governments, including the U.S. and U.K., are trying to live up to that pledge. They are in the very early stages of applying existing vaccine-injury programs to hundreds of claims of injury alleged from Covid-19 shots.

…The U.K.’s National Health Service has received more than 720 claims requesting Covid-19 vaccine-related compensation. The country’s vaccine-injury compensation program entails a one-size-fits-all cash payment of £120,000, equivalent to around $163,000. The volume of Covid-related claims has grown by about 20 a week, toward a projected 1,500 to 1,800 new claims this year, according to U.K. government projections.

http://archive.today/2022.02.22-001537/https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-vaccines-were-deadly-in-rare-cases-governments-are-now-weighing-compensation-11645266603

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News

NHS 24 data shows 240,000 calls not answered – The Herald Scotland

More than 240,000 calls to NHS 24 went unanswered from September to January in figures described as “astonishing” by opposition parties. 

At a time when patients were urged to call the helpline before turning up to A&E, an average of almost 50,000 calls per month to the NHS 111 number failed to be connected.

The highest number of abandoned calls occurred in September 2021 when 68,119 were left unanswered, according to data obtained by the Scottish Conservatives.

Over the festive period, in December, on more than 46,000 occasions callers were unable to speak to anyone.

The Conservatives said that “shockingly” on January 3, very nearly half of all calls (49.7%) were abandoned, accounting for more than 7,000 abandoned calls on that day alone.

https://web.archive.org/web/20220218154619/https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/homenews/19935141.nhs-24-data-shows-240-000-calls-not-answered/

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News

Doctors’ face masks ‘aggravated’ communication failure that led to fatal overdose – The Telegraph

The wearing of face masks by doctors contributed to the death of a patient in an NHS hospital because they exacerbated communication problems, a coroner has said.

The personal protective equipment “aggravated” a “failure in verbal communication” between two physicians treating an epileptic patient.

John Skinner was admitted to Watford General hospital suffering from seizures in May 2020, during the first Covid wave.

He was given phenytoin, an anti-epileptic drug, by a junior doctor who did not know the correct dose to be administered and asked for help from a more senior colleague who told him to use a 15 mg/kg dose measurement. This was misheard as 50 kg/mg.

http://archive.today/2022.02.15-153142/https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/02/15/doctors-face-masks-aggravated-communication-failure-led-fatal/

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News

London Covid: Beds bought for NHS during Covid can’t be used at a waste of £13m – MyLondon

The NHS has wasted around £13million after hundreds of beds meant for the Nightingale hospitals are unable to be used for patients in other wards. The temporary Nightingale hospitals were built across the country to tackle waves of Covid-19, including at a site in London.

The huge loss was documented last week in NHS England’s annual accounts, with the health service claiming that the beds can’t given to other departments as they don’t meet the required standard. Some of the millions of pounds written off include paying for storing the beds.

http://archive.today/2022.02.07-183434/https://www.mylondon.news/news/uk-world-news/london-covid-beds-bought-nhs-23004907

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News

UK is ‘set to bin 3.5million Pfizer vaccine doses’ despite their shelf life already being extended as rollout slows – Daily Mail

Up to 3.5million Covid vaccine doses are set to be binned after reaching their expiry date, it was revealed today.

A leaked memo last month revealed that tens of millions of jabs sent to hospitals, GP surgeries and pharmacies in the run up to Christmas to fight Omicron had largely went unused.

Now NHS sources say more than half of the doses sent to some clinics are still ‘sitting in fridges’ amid falling demand for the booster shots. 

One well-placed official estimated up to 3.5m doses are likely to be binned, based on stock counts in several English regions, the Health Service Journal reports.

http://archive.today/2022.02.05-174202/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10476167/UK-set-bin-3-5million-Pfizer-vaccine-doses-despite-shelf-life-extended.html

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News

Children’s mental health: Record number referred for specialist care – BBC

More children than ever have been referred to the NHS for the most serious mental health problems, the latest figures show.

Some 409,347 under-18s were referred for specialist care for issues such as self-harm and eating disorders between April and October 2021.

That was 77% higher than the same period in 2019.

http://archive.today/2022.02.04-092323/https://www.bbc.com/news/education-60197150

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News

Doctors join waiters in turning down Covid jabs – The Times

Doctors are among the health workers least likely to be vaccinated against Covid-19, while fitness instructors, artists and waiters have some of the highest unjabbed rates overall.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show vaccination rates by profession at the end of last year. The data provides an early indication of which parts of the NHS and social care workforce could be hardest hit by the compulsory vaccination rule that comes into force in April.

http://archive.today/2022.01.21-103524/https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/doctors-join-waiters-in-turning-down-covid-jabs-rf79t7ktf

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Publications

COVID-19 total deaths – weekly summaries All data up to 4pm 19 January 2022 – NHS

Commentary from Paul Embery of UnHerd:

Fresh NHS data shows that the total number of covid-related deaths in hospitals in England involving patients under the age of 80 and with no pre-existing condition is 3,037. This covers the entire period of the pandemic.

Screenshot with comment of Table 3 – Deaths by Condition

https://england.nhs.uk/statistics/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/01/COVID-19-total-announced-deaths-20-January-2022-weekly-file.xlsx

Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20220122113121/https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/01/COVID-19-total-announced-deaths-20-January-2022-weekly-file.xlsx

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Opinion

We let people die alone – Spiked

‘I remember 20 May 2020 vividly, I spent hours on the phone to a man who was in the hospital car park, utterly desperate to see his wife. He begged, wept, shouted to be let in, but we said no – for the greater good of everyone else. She died unexpectedly and alone, as the government had a party.’

…We let people die alone. Just think about that. We let desperate, terrified men howl in car parks. We kept husband from wife, wife from husband. We let people give birth alone. We deprived the elderly of visits from their loved ones. We left dementia sufferers to believe, in their rare moments of lucidity, that their sons and daughters and grandchildren had abandoned them. We let people die alone.

https://web.archive.org/web/20220115083944/https://www.spiked-online.com/2022/01/14/we-let-people-die-alone/

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News

100,000 NHS staff face the sack if mandatory Covid vaccines enforced – The Express

MORE than 100,000 doctors, nurses and other vital NHS staff will disappear under Boris Johnson’s “folly” of sacking unjabbed workers, the Prime Minister was warned.

The cross-party alert comes after troops were drafted into hospitals with thousands of employees on sick leave through Covid or stress. Trade union bosses urged Health Secretary Sajid Javid to delay making Covid jabs mandatory by the end of March “with immediate effect”.

http://archive.today/2022.01.09-182002/https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1547185/nhs-staff-mandatory-covid-vaccines

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Opinion

End mass jabs and live with Covid, says ex-head of vaccine taskforce – The Guardian

Covid should now be treated as an endemic virus similar to flu, and ministers should end mass-vaccination after the booster campaign, the former chairman of the UK’s vaccine taskforce has said.

With health chiefs and senior Tories also lobbying for a post-pandemic plan for a straining NHS, Dr Clive Dix called for a major rethink of the UK’s Covid strategy, in effect reversing the approach of the last two years and returning to a “new normality”.

“We need to analyse whether we use the current booster campaign to ensure the vulnerable are protected, if this is seen to be necessary,” he said. “Mass population-based vaccination in the UK should now end.”

http://archive.today/2022.01.08-211417/https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/08/end-mass-jabs-and-live-with-covid-says-ex-head-of-vaccine-taskforce

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News

Response issued after claim that first Omicron death in UK happened in Northampton – Northampton Chronicle

Northampton General Hospital (NGH) has responded to a claim in the national press that the first Omicron death in the United Kingdom happened at the site last week.

This comes after LBC radio station had a man called John call in on Friday (December 17) saying that his step-father had died of the new variant at ‘a hospital in Northampton’.

John told radio host Nick Ferrari that his step-father in his 70s reportedly died with Omicron on Monday (December 13) after not being vaccinated.

A spokesperson for NHS Northamptonshire CCG said: “The NHS system in Northamptonshire has not recorded an Omicron-related death at this time.”

http://archive.today/2021.12.23-093119/https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/health/coronavirus/response-issued-after-claim-that-first-omicron-death-in-uk-happened-in-northampton-3501629

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News

Up to 40% of new Covid admissions in Omicron epicentre London are only diagnosed AFTER arriving with another ailment, figures suggest as experts and MPs rail against ‘pessimistic’ Sage’s worst-case scenarios – Daily Mail

Fears the NHS could be overwhelmed with Omicron cases, one of the key concerns that spooked ministers into talk of Christmas lockdowns, appear to be unfounded based on the current data, it was claimed last night.

London’s hospitals have seen a spike in cases of patients with coronavirus, leading to fears hospitalisations are following the exponential increases seen with cases in recent weeks.

However, figures show up to 40 per cent of new Covid admissions in the past week only tested positive after arriving at hospital, possibly for a different illness or ailment. 

http://archive.today/2021.12.23-203137/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10330781/Cabinet-data-gap-backlash-ministers-split-new-Covid-curbs-demand-information.html

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Opinion

London streets blocked in furious scenes as Britons rage at lockdown rules – The Express

A demonstration against mandatory vaccinations has been organised by “Take a Stand London”, “Save our Rights” and “The Great Reopening”, along with other protest groups from 12pm at Parliament Square in Westminster. The iconic location was said to be “rammed” with angry Britons on Saturday afternoon, with one witness saying on Twitter: “Parliament Square rammed with protestors!” The protest today saw people travel to the capital from across the UK and there are also rallies in Bournemouth, Blackburn, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and the Isle of Wight.

http://archive.today/2021.12.18-151113/https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1538011/London-protest-today-UK-covid-lockdown-anti-vaccine-passport-omicron-parliament-square

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Opinion

ANGUS DALGLEISH: I believe a climate of dread around Covid is deliberately being manufactured by scientists and my fellow medics – Daily Mail

The Prime Minister has talked of giving Whitty a knighthood — but after that reckless and irresponsible performance, the Chief Medical Officer deserves the boot.

At a stroke, he inflicted spectacular damage on our economy, particularly the hospitality sector which makes over a quarter of its profits in this period, and which has already taken a termendous battering during the pandemic.

…The irony is that if the most lurid forecasts of the lockdown addicts are realised, with the pandemic reaching every household, then all those oppressive measures they cherish most — such as social distancing, bans on large gatherings, venue closures and vaccine passports — will be largely useless.

…And in fact it would be worse than meaningless: it would be counter-productive. Lockdown directly undermines the fight against the virus by preventing the spread of naturally acquired Covid immunity in the population.

http://archive.today/2021.12.18-114349/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-10322873/ANGUS-DALGLEISH-believe-climate-dread-Covid-deliberately-manufactured.html

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Opinion

‘I alerted the wider world to Omicron – and I believe Britain is overreacting’: Doctor Angelique Coetzee, the South African GP who knows more about its effects than anyone, calls for calm despite variant cases spiking 50 per cent in 24 hours – Daily Mail

The UK Government’s handling of what Boris Johnson warned will be a ‘tidal wave’ of Omicron infections verges on hysteria.

With predictions of one million cases by the end of the month and concerns about the NHS being overwhelmed with up to 10,000 hospitalisations per day, I gather there is talk of Christmas again being cancelled and a possible New Year lockdown.

Yet you only have to look at the picture in South Africa, where the world’s first known cases of Omicron were spotted, to realise this reaction is out of all proportion to the risks posed by this variant.

And I should know — because I am the doctor who first raised the alarm about Omicron back in November.

http://archive.today/2021.12.13-232420/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10306211/DR-ANGELIQUE-COETZEE-alerted-wider-world-Omicron-believe-Britain-overreacting.html