Lockdown measures welcome but key questions remain

02 November 2020

Responding to the prime minister’s announcement of a national lockdown, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said:

“It’s been clear for some time that the surge in COVID-19 cases has been gathering pace.

NHS trust leaders have been deeply worried about the prospect of a full COVID second surge coinciding with winter, when the NHS is at its most stretched.

That's why we have been arguing, for several weeks, that quick, decisive, clear action was needed to ensure the NHS had sufficient capacity to treat all patients, COVID and non-COVID alike, this winter.

So whilst we welcome this announcement, there are three key questions. Has it come quick enough? Will people comply so hospital COVID admissions reduce before the full impact of winter on the NHS arrives? And what is the strategy to avoid a permanent cycle of lockdowns?

“These are difficult decisions. We recognise the impact of renewed restrictions on peoples’ liberties, livelihoods and their mental health.

But if we want to avoid giving the NHS with an impossible task this winter, full public compliance with these new lockdown measures is vital.

It will be for a public inquiry to determine whether, as with the first lockdown, these decisions have been sufficiently quick, clear and decisive.