In the two years since, ministers have been racing to rectify this. The spread of Covid spurred the Government to funnel more than £200m of taxpayer cash into a new Vaccine Manufacturing & Innovation Centre (VMIC), with hopes of bringing forward the opening date to summer 2021 and delivering millions of doses to get the population jabbed.
Although the money went in, jabs have yet to come out. More than six months after it was slated to open, VMIC’s doors are still closed. Its role in beating Covid has been non-existent.
Now, the mega-vaccine plant is up for sale – a step insiders say was unavoidable. “Without a buyer, VMIC would fail or it wouldn’t open,” one Westminster source says.
Food Chain Reaction: A Global Food Security Game is a simulation and role-playing exercise intended to improve understanding of how governments, institutions, and private sector interests might interact to address a crisis in the global food system. The scenario is set five years from today in a world where population growth, rapid urbanization, extreme weather, and political crises combine to threaten global food security.
The game’s players—high-level decision makers representing nations, international institutions, and the private sector—will collaborate, negotiate, make decisions, and confront tradeoffs while dealing with a chain reaction of consequences resulting from their actions.
The year is 2020. Our global food system is under stress. All countries are experiencing mounting pressures.
Commentary from The Ice Age Farmer: Farmers Panic, Can’t Get Supplies to Grow Food
Private hospitals treated a total of just eight Covid patients a day during the pandemic despite a multi-billion pound deal with the government to help stop the NHS being overwhelmed, a report reveals.
And they also performed far fewer operations on NHS-funded patients than usual, even though hospitals has suspended much non-Covid care, according to research by a thinktank.
The Treasury agreed in March 2020 to pay for a deal to block-book the entire capacity of all 7,956 beds in England’s 187 private hospitals along with their almost 20,000 staff to help supplement the NHS’s efforts to cope with the unfolding pandemic. It is believed to have cost £400m a month.
However, the Centre for Health and the Public Interest’s report (Pdf) says that on 39% of days between March 2020 and March this year, private hospitals treated no Covid patients at all and on a further 20% of days they cared for only one person. Overall, they provided only 3,000 of the 3.6m Covid bed days in those 13 months – just 0.08% of the total.
England’s test and trace service is being sub-contracted to a myriad of private companies employing inexperienced contact tracers under pressure to meet targets, a Guardian investigation has found.
Under a complex system, firms are being paid to carry out work under the government’s £22bn test and trace programme. Serco, the outsourcing firm, is being paid up to £400m for its work on test and trace, but it has subcontracted a bulk of contact tracing to 21 other companies.
Contact tracersworking for these companiestold the Guardian they had received little training, with one saying they were doing sensitive work while sitting beside colleagues making sales calls for gambling websites.
- Two-thirds of the private sector capacity that was block-purchased by NHS England was left unused over the summer
- Unprecedented block contracts in place for almost all the private hospital capacity, thought to be worth around £400m per month
- Comes as waiting times for elective care and diagnostic tests have steeply increased
- Capacity to carry out chemotherapy treatment was among that not fully used
- Insiders blame confusion and communication over contracts, and some argue the contracts were not needed
This article is from 28 March 2018:
There are many things policymakers can do to fight fake news and propaganda. New legislation for websites could require transparency about sponsored content and who is financing them, and the amount of money for sponsored content could be capped. They could attempt to clearly define illegal hate speech.
But they must be careful to avoid creating incentives for mass removals — and ensure they don’t find themselves mimicking the behavior of authoritarian countries.