Health Department’s Cummings Revenge

Last night Westminster fell over themselves to make the obvious jokes after Boris used the briefing to announce a new vaccine bottling plant at Barnard Castle. GlaxoSmithKline will use the new site to support the manufacturing of 60 million Novavax vaccines down the road in Stockton, preparing vials of the doses and packaging them. Guido hears the announcement was far from a happy coincidence…

Last week a government source got in touch regarding the impending news; delighted at the thought of a vaccine plant in Barnard Castle being announced on the anniversary of Cummings’s fateful journey up to the area. A civil service government source has since described the announcement to Guido as “closure”. Turns out the Department of Health might not be quite the smoking ruin Cummings described…

mdi-timer 30 March 2021 @ 13:00 30 Mar 2021 @ 13:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Hancock’s Barefaced Testing U-Turn

This morning Hancock was on TV attacking people for getting Coronavirus tests when they were not eligible. He told Sky News:

“In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen an increase in demand, including an increase in demand from people who are not eligible for tests, people who don’t have symptoms. We’ve seen an increase of about 25% of people who are coming forward that don’t have symptoms and aren’t eligible.”

Hancock’s instructions to the public in July, however, saw the Health Secretary tell the Commons that if people are in doubt they should get a test. Not only if they have symptoms…

“The main cause of the gap is people who are asymptomatic and therefore do not know they have the virus and do not come forward for testing. We are going to ramp up our communications to make clear that, if in doubt and if people think they might have the symptoms, they should come forward and get a test. We are also going to ramp up our asymptomatic testing of high-risk groups, which he and I have had exchanges about before.”

Was Hancock’s advice wrong then or is it wrong now? The public will be getting pretty sick of the Department of Health’s cock-ups being the responsibility of anyone other than Hancock.

UPDATE: A government source tells Guido “The guidance is clear. If you think you have symptoms you should get a test. Today’s message is no different to that.” Apparently people in doubt about whether they have symptoms should still get a test…

mdi-timer 9 September 2020 @ 14:14 9 Sep 2020 @ 14:14 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Government Responds to Testing Mystery

Yesterday the Government announced it had reached the 200,000 testing capacity target a day early, a commendable feat. This includes 160,000 diagnostic (do you have it) tests and 40,000 antibody (have you had it) tests a day. What is less commendable, however, is that for ten days running, the Health Department has said the number of people being tested is ‘unavailable’. The last day the Government published a ‘people tested’ number was 21 May…

While yesterday Robert Jenrick said that 115,725 tests had been carried out, there was no number for how many people had multiple tests. Ten days ago Public Health England admitted that for many diagnostic tests two swabs are taken, one from the mouth and one from the nose. These are being counted as two tests rather than one, reportedly inflating the test numbers by more than 20% above the number of people being tested. The Health Department tells Guido that the numbers for people tested have been “temporarily paused”:

“Reporting on the number of people tested has been temporarily paused to ensure consistent reporting across all pillars. This is due to a small percentage of cases where the same person has had more than one test or tested positive more than once for COVID-19 in Pillar 2. Corrections will be made to any figures if they have subsequently been found to have an error.”

Temporarily paused for eleven days so far. How long does it take to ‘ensure consistent reporting’?

mdi-timer 1 June 2020 @ 15:03 1 Jun 2020 @ 15:03 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Department of Health’s New Brexit Fear Project

Project fear has reached new levels of sillyness in recent days, as Civil Servant and former Lib Dem Councillor Dominic Fear has been presenting Department of Health Brexit planning documents. In a classic piece of nominative determinism he was recently appointed Communications and Engagement manager for NHS England’s EU Exit operations team. The civil service making appropriate appointments as ever…

mdi-timer 22 August 2019 @ 09:58 22 Aug 2019 @ 09:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Civil Servants Receive ‘Resilience Toolkit’ to Help Them Cope With Brexit Grief

Civil servants have naturally been grumbling about having to do slightly more work than usual as they prepare for Brexit. Luckily for those working in the Department of Health, they’ve just been issued with a “Toolkit for staff during EU Exit” on “Change management and resilience” to help them “understand the impact which change and uncertainty is having on the way you feel”. Seriously…

The toolkit begins by setting out the Department’s “values and behaviours” as a “Great [sic] Department of State”. Staff are then reassured that it’s “natural” for them to be going through the classic five stages of grief over Brexit. They are literally plotted on a graph – rebranded here as a “change curve”…

Staff are then instructed how to “take back control” and shut those bad Brexit thoughts out. The key is to “challenge your inner critic” and “kill your Automated Negative Thoughts (ANTS)”. Kill those nasty ANTS!

There are also some nice colourful graphs to help civil servants get in the “feel good zone”. Just the right amount of “healthy tension”…

Struggling with Brexit Derangement Syndrome yourself? Guido has done the public service of reproducing the ‘toolkit’ in full to help you get through your Brexit troubles too…

Read More

mdi-timer 11 February 2019 @ 14:18 11 Feb 2019 @ 14:18 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
£250,000 Jolly in Cape Town for Striking University Dons

This morning there are at least 35 British public sector representatives in sunny Cape Town on a massive taxpayer funded jolly. Starting today for 2 days it is the World Conference on Tobacco or Health Health – on the theme of “tobacco and social justice”. 3,000 anti-tobacco busy bodies expelling a lot of hot tobacco-free air…

Costs to attend the conference are $650 / £500. Flights from London to Cape Town are £2,500 with accommodation at £350 a night. Guido reckons that the taxpayers’ bill – not including salaries – will come in at nearly £150,000. Include salaries and expenses and it will hit nearer £250,000.

The UK attendees listed below include the Deputy Director from the Department of Health, Public Health England, ASH and academics from a dozen or so universities.

1. Jo Pullen – ActivMob (funded by local authorities)
2. Deborah Arnott – ASH (funded by Department of Health)
3. Anna Gilmore – Bath University
4. Dr Tim Baxter – Deputy Director Department of Health
5. Catherine Taylor – Fresh NE (funded by the 12 councils in the North East)
6. Filippos Filippidis – Imperial College London
7. Mohammed Jawad – Imperial College London
8. Ann McNeill – Kings College London
9. Saman Warnakulasuriya – Kings College London
10. Ruth Bell – Newcastle University
11. Rosanna O’Connor – Public Health England
12. Aleksandra Herbec – University College London
13. Andy Rowell – University of Bath
14. Lion Shahab – University of College London
15. Marisa de Andrade – University of Edinburgh
16. Jeffrey Colin – University of Edinburgh
17. Sarah Hill – University of Edinburgh
18. Jamie Pearce – University of Edinburgh
19. Amanda Amos – University of Edinburgh
20. Ilze Bogdanovica – University of Nottingham
21. Catherine Best – University of Stirling
22. Danielle Mitchell – University of Stirling
23. Fiona Dobbie – University of Stirling
24. Crawford Moodie – University of Stirling
25. Allison Ford – University of Stirling
26. Sally Haw – University of Stirling
27. Olalekan Uthman – University of Warwick
28. Kamran Siddiqi – University of York
29. Omara Dogar – University of York
30. Karen A. Evans – University of Bath
31. Mateusz Zatonski – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
32. Hilary Wareing – Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre (NHS funded)
33. Mona Kanaan – University of York
34. Robert Branston – University of Bath
35. Alisa Rutter – Fresh NE (funded by the 12 councils in NE England)

The Department of Health regularly provides grants to the universities listed above whilst the BEIS gave a collection of universities that make up the self-styled ‘Centre for Alcohol and Tobacco’ £3.4 million last year to researchtobacco related harm in Africa and Asia.’ Each of those universities in receipt of this funding is sending representatives to Cape Town so you can see how this is being funded. Cape Town this time of the year is a sunny 70 degrees, so this jolly it is a great chance to visit some of the local vineyards and top up your tan this winter whilst your university colleagues are striking on the picket line…

mdi-timer 7 March 2018 @ 07:30 7 Mar 2018 @ 07:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Previous Page Next Page